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Got Hacked

The past few weeks had been a nightmare for me when my website got hacked and hundreds of folders began to mysteriously appear with thousands of files within them in my server. I’d probably lost my Google ranking in the time when my site suffered a 3 weeks downtime. The web host was incompetent and I had to sign on and move my hosting again.

Then some despicable lowlife had caused all my files to be 201kb across the board and equally abundance of ZERO BYTES within those. I had started my 5th term of Chinese language learning in Taiwan and having to keep up with school work as well as rows and rows of mindless writing to commit to memory, I had to deal with this annoyance.

My last backup was in 2015, which made me realise I had taken a very long hiatus from blogging. Rightly so, my life changed with the prayer I had asked over New Year’s Day of 2016.

I had to search my archives for the backups and FTPing them took another zillion hours. I now know why I never carved out a career in web mastering. Best of all, my ex-boss conferenced call with me to troubleshoot all the irregularities, a reminiscent of the days where we used to work on web portals and he, write lines of codes. He said, “Here is your blank page, I will handle the boxes in Excel and remove the lines for you because I know you can’t be boxed up.” He was right. I am a blank canvas free to define what I feel.

My website is still not quite there yet. The gallery is inactive and I’ve tweaked whatever I could in the background. I just need time which I don’t have especially when I have a teacher who thinks I should know what was taught last term when I was not even in the same course. I did one year at NTNU and have now moved to Chinese Culture University.

I have tried to post some Chinese characters and they are not showing. Pardon the absence of pictures in some posts. I’m still trying to restore my files from this ZERO bytes problem.

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Catastrophic Event at Dog Shelter

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In the last few months of hiatus, I’d spent my time with friends, relatives and catching up on outdoor pursuits all over Germany & Italy and getting a bit of underwater time in Egypt. I took a break from myself because I wanted to get more input to be able to give output. I was writing for work so much that I’ve lost some mojo in the things that once brought me such joy. One event led to the next, and though people may envy my travels, they don’t really know how disconnected I become when I come back from each trip, catching up on friends’ FB feed and desiring fellowship with great buddies. One friend got married, had a baby with a man I didn’t know she married because I thought she was still dating her long time boyfriend whom I happen to also know. I asked her privately, of course, much to my confusion and thankfully, it wasn’t as embarrassing as I thought it would be. Honesty and forthrightness go a long way to preserving relationships. I don’t believe in talking behind anyone’s back unless I’m giving them praises.

I got to a stage in life where I started to place importance in keeping friends who want to stay in touch, I began to keep away from those who are malignant. I became less attached to social media starting with my weaning off Twitter & Google+, using it only to communicate with several people pertaining to current issues. I stay in touch with good friends who are also busy, making no demands on their time as they made no demands on mine and when we meet, it would be as if no time had passed between us at all. I made a resolution last year to only write what would be of good cheer, useful and informative articles for the benefit of my audience who take the time to journey with me.

I was also getting over a traumatic event.

Just before the turn of the New Year, a Christmas party I attended at a dog shelter ended up in a disaster. I couldn’t write about it then because I was distraught and injured. What seemed to be a fine afternoon of celebration in the sun with cheery dogs running about, a sudden storm turned the river outside into a raging torrent that submerged the shelter and all other houses in the vicinity in over 2 metres of muddy water. 13 volunteers and workers including Puspa, the founder of the shelter, Aziz & myself, were scrambling to raise the cages & free the dogs but the flood waters rose so fast, there wasn’t enough time to get all to safety and dry ground resulting in deaths. Everyone did their best to get as many dogs out, those of us who could swim, were grabbing dogs paddling about to hoist them to higher platforms, those who couldn’t, were clinging on to several dogs on trees, pillars & roofs for their dear lives. The scene was right out of a catastrophic mudslide except that this happened in Kajang, on our soil, to our people. Having my supposedly waterproof Sony Xperia Z1 phone in my pocket while I swam to & fro the main gate of the shelter’s compound to call for help, had actually flooded it. If only I can get hold of the footage I filmed when the flood happened, it would give you an idea what we endured before risking our lives to save our dogs. The incident left many broken hearted.

The rain didn’t stop. When the waters rose passed knee deep. I began to pray. This was way beyond what I was trained for in disaster management and life saving but I couldn’t leave them stranded and knowing the majority of our nation could not swim, it was a call of duty. I knew Aziz could swim, having been educated in the U.K., I expected him to be able to. He was rescuing bags of food and the box of frozen chicken. I asked God what to do. By then, the water had reached my waist. A rat swam frantically by. There was also a snake in the water. I didn’t flinch. I was just stunned. It was barely minutes. I had a backpack filled with documents, electronic gadgets, tablets & devices that weren’t protected. I pleaded for help. Lord, if you want me to do this right, please protect my belongings! God made me turn around & there, I saw a bungee cord hanging on the door! Then He showed me a pipe near the roof for me to climb up the window sill to tie my bag there. In my breath, I heaved a sigh of relief and gave thanks to God who always fished me out of trouble. Then the rescue really begun. I tried to stay calm and talked to those who couldn’t swim. We released all dogs within our perimeters to fend for themselves. My priority was human beings, dogs go to heaven any way. Dogs have an inbuilt ability to swim. Humans don’t. The larger dogs in the outside compound cages were freed in time and being social animals, they clamoured onto us & clung on for dear lives onto our shoulders and backs. If I wasn’t a strong swimmer, I would’ve drowned in all that weight. I tossed whoever was in my grasp to either Baskaran, the staff who got onto the higher platform with 20 other panicky dogs or Aziz who would bring the dogs to stand above the hoisted cages. Somehow, they know trouble was brewing. I couldn’t let my voice falter or they would hear my tone of distress that would trouble them even more. The last thing I needed was for the 20+ dogs to jump out of the holding platform at once to head for the torrential river outside the gate. I had scratches and bruises and like the rest, I wasn’t going to let go of them. Joey lost her car in the floods. It was almost like a repeat of Pulau Selat Kering back in 2009.

When the firemen finally got to us, they asked us how many we were and if there are children present. They asked us if we needed to be rescued in the waters well over my head. I said to them, where’s the boat, we only want to be rescued if we know we can leave here with our dogs. Bomba left us. Hmmm……I guess they don’t rescue dogs.

Thiaga from DAP, the party who came to our aid, offered Puspa a factory premise nearby to temporarily host the dogs till she can find something more permanent. Having had floods before, the current shelter is no longer a safe haven and she has got to move before another flood hits and by then, it wouldn’t be coinciding with any more parties with volunteers who know how to swim being present. Coming out to attend Pesta Balakong, the DAP councillor gave us new T-Shirts to change from our totally soaked & stinky attire. My foot was bleeding from having kicked some sharp object underwater but the pain was nothing compared to the pain of losing these beloved dogs in the flood. I don’t know the figures because I didn’t stay behind to witness the depressing sight which the workers had the terrible task of doing. More volunteers arrived after our calls for help reached social media. Anthony was my beacon. I never cried so hard before for the loss of these innocent lives caught in a catastrophe. It was something beyond our control. I cannot speak for the accusations levelled at Puspa on the running of the association but I was there at the scene with her to see her risk her life for her dogs. And so did her workers and volunteers present. I went home in a daze and washed my hair 3 times. I caught a chill but my thoughts were with MIAR. We can leave the incident but the incident can never leave us.

Upon hearing our ordeal, Steven Yong on behalf of HTC Malaysia came forward and gave the 13 of us at MIAR a replacement phone each. What a wonderful thing to do! A major commercial brand reached out to those who stayed behind for their four-legged friends. Thank you, HTC! The HTC Desire 610 is serving me very well. I’m reminded of the dogs that didn’t make it and the dogs that did. I asked God for a place in heaven for each one of them who crossed the Rainbow Bridge that day. And may those who lent a hand during the rescue and the post-rescue clean-up be blessed abundantly for answering the call for help. The empathy shown just blew me away.

A Great Man Has Gone Home

Rolihlahla (Nelson) Mandela. 18 July 1918 – 6 December 2013.

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Taken at Madame Tussauds, Wien, Austria.

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Taken at Madame Tussauds, Wien, Austria.

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But I’ve only just met you! Or your towering wax figure Tussauds made out of you. You looked so weathered, stood so tall, yet the battles you fought for the people against apartheid and poverty will make us all stand proud with you for eternity. God bless your soul and may you receive the many promised crowns in heaven!!! Thank you for the gift of yourself, Mr. Mandela!

Hiatus Ended

Whenever there’s a hiatus from my blog, I take time out to do everything that I’ve been wanting to do for the year before finding that inspiration to write again. After my round-Malaysia camping trip with Rufus, my work started to pile, visits to my clients’ place became more frequent & delivering my assignments meant I had to burn the midnight oil. Not that unusual but sleeping late doesn’t sync with Rufus’ timing to get his walk in the morning where he struts happily to shower the caterpillars at the shrubs near the pond. Beckoned only by the crows tailing us as we encircle the our morning fields, we watch the Purple Heron from a distance, an indicator that winter migration has begun.

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Before the season of diving ended I was plagued by a childhood injury & dislocated my hip again. Having the Low family help me in & out of the water during their certification trip was somewhat embarrassing but when I was water-bound, I was weightless/painless & free. Grimacing as soon as I leave the ocean, I spent Raya being bedridden till I could access my chiropractor after his holidays to have my hip adjusted into place. While horizontal, I got acquainted with Chinese serial dramas again & was given the desire to see China. Lo & behold, Soo offered me to take over her trip & when God healed me during a specific altar call where He had given me a vision 4 days prior at the start of the Pentecostal World Conference & just after a lady gave me a book entitled, ”˜The Church in China,’ I was convinced that God was indeed, sending me to China.

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I visited my reefs & said hello to the resident Risbecia tryoni while the inquisitive Sea Perch decided to have its picture taken as well. Doing several dive trips before the season ended gave me an opportunity to accustom myself with the Olympus E-PM1 & the housing.

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In the month of Ramadhan, I witnessed the Tourism Minister together with Secretary General of Tourism giving red packets to under-privileged children at a buka puasa dinner hosted by the Ministry of Tourism. I caught up with fellow journalists from travel mags & Julini, my ex-colleague from Concorde Hotel.

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In the passed 2 months or so, I couldn’t bring myself to detail all that’s happened because life is just too fast paced & I had tons of writing to do for my clients. From 17-pages reports to drafting letters to minutes of meetings, all of which overworked my braincells & took away my creativity for awhile. I was even getting upset over events that had transpired in a meeting that I was minuting so nothing from me could be comprehensible in the last 2 months.

Just then, Sony Mobile selected my picture for the launching of Xperia Z1 in Malaysia & the picture of the Twin Towers was taken with the phone that they have presented me with.

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Soon after, I participated in another event & another picture was selected. Yes, I got busy with the 20 megapixel camera on the Z1 instead.

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I needed time out & China was a major trip traversing across mountainous terrains spanning over 1000km on the way to Yading in what I deem as freezing temperatures. I guess I’m made for the tropics. Will tell you about my trip in between my travels as soon as I appease Rufus because I’d been away too often & too long…..

Merdeka Giveaway – WinX HD Video Converter worth US$49.95!

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You spot an unidentifiable floating/flirting object, crawling, creeping, undulating or it might even be getting ready to cast its next generation into the ”˜air’ (atmosphere, depending on whether you should terrestrial or marine life) & the first response is to whip out your camera and flash your shutter planes at it. You take a breath & resume your most comfortable position to record the motion instead. Minute by minute, your aching arms tell you that your footage is enough but your bug/slug/mollusc decides to demonstrate some kungfu or calisthenics to stun its prey and you finally get footage worthy of National Geographic’s mention.

You get to your computer & you want to edit it to include your signature & insert music to complement the excitement but you find that you must convert it to MOV or MPEG before you can even edit it. And you have many files to edit. Your free converter only converts one file at a time. For a 500MB video, it takes almost 20 minutes & not all converters can give you a high definition output or give you the controls to increase the volume nitrate or output to any format to be readable by your iPhone/iPad/Android as showpieces. Predicament like this can be solved with having a batch HD video converter like the WinX HD Video Converter Deluxe (for Windows) & WinX HD Video Converter for Mac to convert all your HD videos. Leave it running in the background & before you know it, all your videos are converted!

Here are the reasons why you should get the WinX HD Video Converter for Mac (or Windows):-

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Support Multi-track HD and Blu-ray Video

The first Mac HD video converter that supports converting Multi-track HD video BDAV, M2TS, MKV, AVCHD, TrueHD, MTS, MPEG-TS Audio/Video. E.g. it lets you convert Multi-track MKV to MP4, M2TS to MKV, Blu-ray M2TS to MKV, which is a definitely useful feature when making a digital copy to backup your Blu-ray videos.

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Convert Videos from HD-Camcorder
Convert AVCHD, MOD, TOD and MTS videos recorded by HD camcorders, such as Panasonic, Canon, Sony, JVC to AVI, MPEG, MP4, FLV, JVC and other most popular video formats, so that you can play the videos on portable devices or edit the video in iMovie.

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Convert Videos to Portable Devices
It can convert all HD and regular videos, such as AVCHD, MKV, MTS, M2TS, MPEG-4, AVI, WMV, FLV, MP4, to other formats for playback on most popular portable devices like iPod, iPad ( iPad 2/iPad 3), iPhone (iPhone 4/4S/5), Apple TV, Xbox, Xbox360, PSP, PS3, etc. So you can watch them without assistance of third-party codecs.

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Create VOB Files on Mac for DVD Burning
It can also create VOB files (one of default DVD video formats) from the videos recorded by HD camcorders, downloaded from online video sharing sites, or made by your own, and then you can burn the VOB video to DVD Disc by your DVD authoring software. It offers an all-round solution to make backup copies of your videos.

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Youtube Video Downloader and Converter
With a built-in website video downloader, it is also a video tool for online content downloading to help you extract videos from millions video sharing site like Youtube, Vimeo, Google, Facebook, Megavideo, etc. Then you can convert all downloaded video directly.

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Amazing Output Video Audio Quality
High Quality Engine is built in this HD video converter to manage the output image quality. With advanced De-interlace Accelerator, it delivers more original output video, compared with similar Mac HD video converter. Besides, you can balance the video/audio quality and file size by adjusting the bitrate resolution parameters.

To be entered in the giveaway, please drop me a comment & tell me the model of your camera that you shoot with & the current converter you are using & include a shout out ”˜MERDEKA!’ at the end of your comment. (Merdeka is a Malay word for independence, shouted by our Prime Minister on 31 August 1957 when we gained independence from the British). Please include your email address & state whether you need a Windows or Mac version. And thank you for sailing by Pummkin’s Pitch!

Giveaway is sponsored by the good people at Digiarty.com! For more information, please visit www.winxdvd.com.

Half A Year Gone

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Taiping Lake Gardens.

There are not enough hours in a day for me & every minute is precious when I’m doing the things I love to do most. When Wolfgang visited, we spent a week exploring the jungles of Malaysia equipped with tents, poles, four-legged companions & survival kits. We learnt that even a simple tent can bear quite an effect on your sleep if the roof is not vented & the fly-sheet is not totally waterproof. The tropical rainforest usually lives up to its name when you are least prepared and with Rufus & Spice coming along, there’s no option to stay in a resort. I have no problem with that & it’s so nice to see Rufus getting all protective of his space & master (or slave aka me).

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Rufus having a snooze while I drove.

Hearing the nocturnal insects & the quaak-quaak frogs at night made me feel like I was on a different planet. There was no ”˜ribbik’ nor the ”˜oowooongg’ noises from the bullfrogs but a very distinct & loud ”˜QUAAK!’ which is then answered by their fellow species somewhere else. It was an interesting night. Rufus was adapting to all these foreign noises too. Aziz had to alternate between his tent & the 4WD because Spice kept him awake frequently with the need to answer nature’s call. He decided to sleep in the car so as not to wake Wolfgang.

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Rufus taking a cool dip with me!

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The Milky Way!

We spent nights shooting the Milky Way & visited Lawrence & Ina in Gua Musang in Kelantan. After that, we headed to Grik & spent a night at Belum. There, I was visited by a wild boar while I was in the tent. We drove to Taiping for some sight-seeing before returning to KL for a dive trip to Aur & Tenggol. In between, I caught up with my ex-boss, Dato’ Loy & ex-colleagues to celebrate his birthday & facilitate sessions for FInancial Psychology’s workshops.

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Ex boss & colleagues.

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Pulau Dayang, off Pulau Aur.

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Sandwiched in between a colour-coded (coincidence) dressing for the day, Bose & Soo.

I am constantly reminded that I have to stop & smell the roses each time work gets too hectic or when the assignment gets the better of me. I found one in such splendour that smelling it alone would not justice to it. It put a smile to my face that God flutters the heart of His children when His flora flourishes! Here’s to more discoveries in the wild!

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F.U.D. – We Can Pee Like Boys Now

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My childhood dream aspiration of becoming a boy has become a reality now after facing numerous challenges in filthy,  tight & uncompromising lavatories when I am travelling. It’s annoying when you carry a backpack of stuff, be it your camera gear or your daypack of essentials, entering a public loo is so indignifying. Especially those that haven’t been cleaned in a century or those that have lost sight of care. I can’t count the number of times where I cringed before peeing, having to hover over soiled toilet seats while taking extra precautions NOT to come into contact with the equally dirty walls on my backpack. 

As I was kitting up for my Survivalist Sack, I came upon this Female Urination Device called P Ez. It seems to be the solution to all my on-the-go urgency problems so I ordered one & two months later it arrived. Perfect for my 10-day expedition in Borneo. Being somewhat excited at the thought that I’d finally be standing up to pee, a flurry of thoughts came to my mind. What if I pee all over myself? What if I made a mess of my bathroom? What if it DOESN’T WORK??? I guess these are the angst of one who’s finally getting a feel of what being a boy is all about. As a child, I used to aspire to be a boy. Now don’t ask me why, perhaps it was due to the clothes my mom made me wear as a toddler or the fact that I loved playing with gadgets that don’t go well with my sisters or just being plain curious about the opposite sex. Either way, I wanted an appendage. 

So it arrived. I opened the box with glee. I was greeted with a misshaped lilac coloured funnel that I’m supposed to put on my cherry. I examined the rubbery plastic thing for awhile & proceeded to enact a ”˜travel situation’ where my back has a camera backpack, me wearing pants & this bionic cuckoo bird being whipped out from my waistpack. Having to figure out which way is ”˜outward’ is easy. Just look at how it points & you will know how to position it to your body. 

The moment of truth came. I’ve never had to touch any of my body parts when answering nature’s call & this is a rather absurd act as we girls have never thought about putting our hands onto our cherries to direct the shower of our power. So okay, here goes…….the funnel is pointing to the bowl & I’m ready to go…….the initial spout was fine when I got the aim right but as soon as it started to trickle, it trickled everywhere!!! How do you men deal with sprinkling when you’re tinkling??? Now don’t you ever leave the washroom WITHOUT washing your hands & appendage because now I know what you are down to. By the time I finished, my toilet bowl rim was splattered with pee & though I felt triumphant having DONE it like a boy, I had to clean my toilet bowl, the floors & also disinfect the area around it! Good thing I had the seat up too! So much effort! I felt I need more practice over this bionic cuckoo if I were to master the use for my Borneo expedition! This kinda explains why boys need a lifetime to become men & even then, can’t get their aim right. 

The instruction says I have to wash the device with warm soapy water & air dry. Having wet wipes & sanitiser ready helps if water is not available. I washed it & put it near the window to dry. This appendage will be handy if I go into the wild & when I have to go. 

The upside is, I now would not need to ”˜hover’ above the toilet bowl when there’s a germ infested toilet seat (or there’s an absence of one) & would be delighted to pee in the jungle without having my bottom pricked by shrubs & twigs! 

The other option is to use TravelJohn™ Disposable Urinal in situations where you can’t find a lavatory at all. Those who have been there & experienced that would know what a God-sent items these urinal devices are. Get the TravelJohn™ at Lafuma & P Ez on eBay by searching for ”˜female urination device.’

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Drive Around New Zealand in a Rented Car!

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Photo by Thomas Young

Seeing some of the pictures on National Geographic website, I’ve been stirred with the thought of exploring the land of The Lord of the Rings by road which would be the best option to see places of interest at my own pace. New Zealand is also known as the land of Kiwis and packing for a birding trip would be easier if I don’t have to worry about transportation that can accommodate all the detours I’d be making with a discovery. Checking my options, I found a car rental site that can provide me with a supersaver compact car for only NZ$25 per day! It’s RM2.458 to NZ$1 which is about US$0.815 only. Being mobile can take me to more places than if I were to stay in one place throughout a 10-day trip.

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There are two islands, the North & South islands to explore. Snap Car Rentals offers a range of rented cars from economy to premium depending on the size of your group. They take care of reservations of ferry tickets by Interislander Ferry if you want to cross the islands too. What makes it more convenient is that I’m able to select a pick-up at Auckland airport & choose to return it in another airport! The options are available as shown below in a simple dropdown list form to check the availability of the car of your choice for your dates of travel. While you are there, pick up some hip bags or some cool motorcycle gear in Motormart with a 3-day shipped to you option in New Zealand! And if you fall in love with the country & want to buy yourself a holiday home, check out this mortgage site too.

The notably large number of unique bird species & a mild maritime climate, this land was mostly covered in forest. New Zealand’s varied topography and its sharp mountain peaks caused by the tectonic uplift of land and volcanic eruptions. This undulated landscape makes a perfect picture & one of the places I must visit is Abel Tasman National Park in the South Island. Self-drive is an option I choose to get the birds on my list to photograph!

Brought to you by Snap Car Rentals, New Zealand.
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Landscape of Lake Tekapo by Pichugin Dmitry.

5th May 2013

Sitting at a little hawker centre in North Bridge Road in Singapore, after alighting from the fiendish express bus that was supposed to have dropped me off at Beach Road but made me disembark in the middle of Jalan Sultan at an unearthly hour of 5am when I’m barely awake from the journey. Venturing further with my Eminent wheelie luggage & Millet backpack, I found this place with the nicest tea that I’ve tasted in a long time. People just don’t make tea the way tea is supposed to taste like in kopitiams anymore. While waiting for my dear, uppity tangkachi  to pick me up in her ‘meet-Ah Lian-clothes,’ I am sitting here, sipping my tea & trying to put my thoughts together.

I watched a foreign worker in bright reflector vest, sweeping the street just outside our state of the art bus terminal building in Bandar Tasik Selatan when I went there after a workshop to collect my boarding pass. I felt a surge of compassion towards him & I asked God to bless him & the family that he probably has to send money home to. A storm was brewing & from the place he was sweeping, there was no way he could reach the building or any shelter for that matter when the skies pour down. He’s got to get wet to keep OUR streets clean. I couldn’t help but feel sad at the state of the country where foreign workers take up the jobs that are supposed to be filled by Malaysians. I feel sorry that they have to be subjected to harsh working conditions because they have no status here as odd job workers & manual labourers. I felt angry for the way these people have been reduced to such working standards that give them no way to voice their rights. It hurts me to see that despite these unjust treatment levied on them, many of these foreigners are given citizenship by a crooked system that’s bent on milking the nation dry.

Here in Singapore, Malaysians who have flocked here to make their mark have made their mark one way or another. They have been given recognition based on merits & many have decided to embrace the permanent residency offered by the administration & are thriving beyond any of their peers back home. The competitive trait that most of them have acquired, is actually a simulation of the environment that they have to be in & it’s no wonder that they can be successful. Comparing that trait to that of Malaysians’, we fall short & far behind. We don’t even have a minimum wage policy until recently & wages do not increase proportionately with the inflation of goods, leaving many working in jobs to sustain a life they can’t afford to live in. In a few days, I would finish my assignment here & return home where I will be commissioned again for other assignments. I can go on but I’m not here to lament about what has been done or hasn’t been done. I want to put to use what I know for the good governance that I’m looking for & hope for a flood that will sweep the nation. 5 May 2013.

CAT Addresses Attack of An Interesting Specie

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A panoramic view of the meeting in progress with chairman, Anthony Thanasayan.

It’s a monumental effort for CAT (Canine Advisory Team) to convene with the predominantly Muslim councillors from each district in Selangor to come to an agreement on executing plans pertaining to stray dogs management. Muslims being the majority in the country, we appreciate the efforts by them to find a fairground on dog issues & agree to disagree on certain issues. What was discussed on the panel was the dog park with each council giving their support for it to be set up, though in areas occupied by mainly Malays, they have had no request to have a dog park. Those in Shah Alam, Sepang & Selayang haven’t received any request whereas different rules apply in the municipality of Klang, Subang Jaya & Petaling Jaya. In Klang, dogs are allowed on leash to follow their owners everywhere even though they have no dog parks.

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Dr. Zainol of DBKL on the left.

The guest of honour we’ve had the pleasure of convening with, was Dr. Zainol of DBKL (City Hall). His input in matters concerning the pounds in Setapak & the recent collaboration with MIAR (Malaysian Independent Animal Rescue) was much sought after especially when there are quarters undermining their efforts of getting the pound dogs adopted. Previously, one organisation headed by a psychopathic reporter who’s task is to demonise any efforts by town councils or city hall to address the stray dog issue, had been trying to browbeat DBKL & MBPJ by portraying them as animal-catching fiends. This of course, had set off a string of gullible believers of incredulous claims, who then set on a rampage to verbally hammer the authorities without facts.

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Meeting in progress.

Wising up to their ways, the councils have come to predict what this organisation is all about. It’s become passé & this has caused them to lose credibility, not that they have any in the first place, and caused all councils in Selangor to boycott this ONE organisation. They are not even registered as a society. When you have someone at the top who makes squalid attempts to slander individuals with libel, associating with them can cause you your reputation too. Very soon, you will be the NEXT target. A person who has so much hatred cannot be tasked with nation-building. Dr. Zainol told me about a letter written to them alleging atrocious keeping of dogs at their pound. I told Dr. Zainol that if it was true, he wouldn’t be working with MIAR & the public now. Appointing MIAR, a registered NGO, headed by Puspa Rani & Shalinee Fernandez who’s a lawyer, they can’t go wrong. Puspa may be ranting off her frustrations publicly on her page but her love & dedication for strays is genuine & true. Shalinee, being a lawyer, has a great scale of legal knowledge & ability to vocalise change for the betterment of the management of dogs in the country. Putting Shalinee on the board of CAT together with other NGOs on the panel is a boon to the team! Too bad the organisations she had helped before didn’t recognise her ability but rather, they sought to discredit her by their same modus operandi used on anyone with good ideas.

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Having breakfast with Anthony, Shalinee & Yani of Klang Town Council.

Dr. Zainol briefed that since the bylaws had been updated in 2011, the restriction of having domestic pets above the ground floor of apartments has been lifted, thus, permitting dwellers in apartments to KEEP a dog as a pet but must be mindful to NOT let it be an annoyance to neighbours. Dog owners in apartments can finally REJOICE!!!!

Finally, we addressed the issue of the service dogs being put to sleep by the Fire & Rescue Department. Why is it not surprising that the same group of people (comprising of wanimo-sapiens – a genus called Wanii & the species of Waniipets, who hail from the same genus but camouflaged as another being) would launch a rampage to discredit the Department for a task that dignified the passing of their service dogs? I want to say thank you to the trainers who have dedicated their time & effort to train a dog to save a life in a fire or a hazard raid. And that they know it’s not right to give them up for adoption when they are so sick. Please read the letter by Anthony Thanasayan after he had met with the Fire & Rescue Department authorities at Putrajaya on Wednesday & published in The Star newspapers today. I want to thank the Fire & Rescue Department for having such good practices in putting the welfare of the dog first, even if it means to put them to rest after many months of deliberation. I would like to ask you readers to not entertain claims by wanimo-sapiens who take pride in tearing nations down with gutter-reporting & baseless accusations. As a journalist, I must have facts before I write & anything that I dish out, must be credible & accountable. Unfortunately, wanimo-sapiens do not practice that so what you get is basically waniarrhoea.

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A well-wisher came to congratulate Anthony on our way back from lunch after the CAT meeting.

Note:- I’ve been besieged with assignments that has left me exhausted & unable to blog for awhile. I believe in taking care of priorities & my friends who share burdens with me. Wait for my next blogpost addressing disaster packs!

The World Didn’t End, It Has Just Begun.

What 2012 had been was a year of drama, excitement, elation, grief, distress, mourning all at once. The year passed so quickly. With the blink of an eye, I’d been to several countries & back. Some of my involvement with social work has been enlightening too. Being one of the country’s representative for The Access Initiative (TAI) with Jeffrey Phang, I was able to learn what others pay top dollars to do so. Returning from our regional meeting in Bangkok, we were able to put our knowledge to work. Mom passed away just before the trip & I missed my flight but I knew it was important for me to be there. As part of the initiative, we are to advocate access to information, access to public participation in matters concerning the environment that would affect people & access to justice. We are now in the process of getting a club to adopt the hardcore poor homes by sponsoring food stuff. They are also keen to have the kids from the Drum Circle perform on their annual dinner event. More about that in time to come. Meetings with these wonderful ladies from the club is so heartening. With the passing of a life, another event begins.

On the animal welfare front, we have gained good ground by working with the first local council in Malaysia to celebrate & honour World Animal Day 2012. All thanks to Anthony T, who spearheaded & founded CAT (Canine Advisory Team, a panel in which I sit in) in MBPJ as a councillor since 2008, we will soon have a dog park to let our dogs be paw-loose & fancy-free! Listen to his speech at the launch of the day in the video below.

So much work set in motion by Sabrina Yeap, who also passed away this year, contributed to this effort of councils & organisations getting together. There are those who think that they are a contributing factor while they clamour for her stature but no one have the guts & gall that Sabrina had to have spent her life dedicated to making life worth living for the animals. Hardly surprising because those who deem themselves important have so many personalities uprising from their virtue of stunning others with incorrigible behaviour & expletives incontinence. And their little squadron of likeminded individuals, usually personalities playing up from not following doctor’s orders, would start to fire at anyone & everyone who has never known of such vocabulary. Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks, the pen writes or the keyboard types. When these keyboard warriors go on a rampage, they can only fool some of the people, some of the time. When some of these individuals stopped making sense years ago, I’ve pretty much disregarded their significance in the world of rescue. They have only themselves to rescue out of the pit they have dug & fallen into some time ago. I pray that they would find peace amidst the turmoil they face within.
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Later on in the year, I was featured on a full page of a Chinese daily & Szee Cshieng, the journalist from Kwong Wah Yit Poh contacted me a month ahead to set an appointment for the feature. We met in 2007 at the LIMA exhibition in Langkawi. Since then, she had been following my pursuits on FB. Thank you for the compliments in the 7 roles that you reprised of me but I see myself as an adventurer more than as a star. If God has given us skills & talents, then we must use them to bless others. Even if it’s just to teach a new skill, impart a knowledge or to share responsibilities. In doing this, my life is enriched. In living life to the fullest, I am able to create pieces that thrills from having lived that journey of getting to wherever or whatever. This came shortly after my interview with Cars, Bikes & Trucks section of New Straits Times & a feature done by Grace Chen.

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A directive from the top had me moving out of the city & into the beautiful countryside. My move is all done now & settling into my new place is easy. It’s the unpacking & organising of my stuff that’s daunting. Taking for granted of my ever present kitchen for the last 7 years, I didn’t know how much I missed not having one so I fitted in a brand new stainless steel kitchen & got myself a full-fledged/featured microwave oven that grills, bakes, steams & microwaves! Rufus took about 10 days to resign to his new home & he’s loving it here too. And my cousin Lisa gave me an infrared gas stove as a house-warming gift and guess who has been dropping in for meals ever since??? My beloved guest from Italy & the Scotsman living opposite my place! Hahahaha! Thanks, Lisa! I love the stove! I got a chicken timer for Christmas too & a pack of drink stirrers in addition to some birthday presents (gadgets & a locket). They also loved the DOM Benedictine that’s been evaporating from my non-consumption of it & topping it with Bulla’s Caramel Toffee Ice Cream, it seemed to have made these men happy! Not to mention, we even had a go at my rice wine meant for cooking…….. Time to stock up my freezer & pantry!

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When packing to move, I found my stash of yarn. It was then that I decided to pick up my first love of crochet & made a pair of gloves, a cowl for my winter trips, two boleros and now starting on my another pair of gloves. I ordered more yarn & am enjoying church service so much more!

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Making full use of fill-in time like getting caught in traffic jams, in between appointments & travelling transits, I was able to make all that. Imagine if I had more time on my hands! I’d be attempting to make those pretty tunics & dresses! If you like crochet, follow my crochet boards on Pinterest to get patterns & inspiration!

So the world didn’t end. Even after Chien died, mom died, Chien’s mom died, Sabrina died, Maxine died. I choose to think that my chapter with them has ended. And they would want me to write new books & chart new paths with other people too. And my world, the one that God has blessed me with, has just begun. Thank you, Lord, for a remarkable 2012.

Everworld on Christmas 2012

There’s nothing like watching a brilliant cast put together by SIBKL’s production in a musical called Everworld on Christmas Day. The four of us headed to SunwayMas to watch Joshua & Jin perform. Joshua is the Programme Director of StART, where I used to teach swimming to the kids who come from underprivileged homes now living in the welfare homes around Klang Valley. (The pool had been out of order to commission a repair is too expensive so until we can find a venue to take the kids to, swimming lesson is halted.) And Jin, was my little student, now not so little as he has turned into a handsome young chap with an excellent voice. I spent the whole time taking photos of the musical & am very happy that I got to spend it with people who matters to me.

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Joshua, playing the lead role as Prospero.

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Tabitha, whose voice is more resounding than her stature, gave a wonderful performance.

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My charming student, Li-Jin & his co-actress!

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This year, I received several gadgets for Christmas, one of them had been my wish for ages, a Fa&Mi underwater video light!! Off to savour my other presents that came in the form of jars of anchovies & precious truffles in honey! Here’s wishing you a Merry Christmas!

For more pictures of the production, go to my Flickr & look for Events & Festival collection.

Visiting Kuala Lumpur’s Colourful Past

The Chinatown walking tour is one of the most enlightening tours of Kuala Lumpur that you can be in. Arriving at the meeting point for the Rakan KL’s 2-hour tour, I had just picked up Wolfgang from KL Sentral where he had just landed from Italy! Entering an old hotel and walking along the buildings on the streets that have somewhat lost its lustre, I looked at what will be demolished in due time for the erection of the MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) in the area. It was interesting to note that before Pudu Jail, there predates it was a smaller prison that sits on Jalan Panggong (Theatre Street) where arts & culture once thrived. This street served as the centre of entertainment & cultural development of sorts from street arts to opera. A few legacy shops selling artistic wares still exist today but for how long, we don’t know.

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We continued to venture with the guidance of the prominent artist, Victor Chin & environmental guardian, Adrian Yeo & his team to the back lanes where we got the chance to enter a house that resembled a ”˜secret society’s den’ in the heydays. It looked like a clan house. The doors had vertical bars as barriers, something that you don’t see in modern architecture anymore. Then we stopped for a mid-morning snack where I had a bowl of yee mee for breakfast & a generous handful of spongerusks that Victor handed out. I forgot what it was like savouring the flavours of Petaling Street where my late mother frequented when I was growing up. Four generations of my family have lived & breathed the air of the confluence of two rivers, known as Kuala Lumpur & never before have I felt so depressed about the lost of a heritage site. Sitting by the sidewalk is an gentleman of Indian heritage who came here as a boy at 5 years of age. Today, he 58 years old. He sells sundries, newspapers & magazines for as long as he had been there.

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Walking further along the street heading to Chin Woo Stadium, I got to see the art along the side walls of Yan Keng Benevolent Dramatic Association. Here is where a prominent tailor, Kwong Fook Wing, made his royal commissions. The KL Commercial Book Store is also situated here. After the final stop at Chin Woo Stadium, the highest point in Kuala Lumpur city, we made our way to lunch in a backstreet restaurant before parting ways. It is reported that one is able to look directly at Bukit Aman police headquarters where before it wasn’t possible during the British occupation in Malaya!

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When The Old Has Gone

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Sometimes, things don’t go as planned or just find that plans have gone entirely off track. In the last one month or so, I’ve had the opportunity to experience friendship like I have never before. I went in search of a new place of residence without really knowing where to start except that I have a budget to keep & I have Rufus to consider. And after much praying, God showed me a sign. In the following few days, the ”˜sign’ was spoken of by friends in a conversation. When I went to view the house that I was to occupy, I saw the ”˜sign’ in the house next door. The day after, during a management retreat with NST in Bukit Tinggi, I was asked again about this ”˜sign.’ I take it that God had found the place for me & I made plans to move. My new landlord is a very nice guy who fixed a new water heater for me too! The thought of buying a house & getting into debt is just not what I want. I can’t afford a lifestyle where I’m a slave to it. It may be for most people, to progress in life to buy a house but somehow, I know I will go where my work takes me, no matter how far & that means, I have to be as mobile as ever without any incumbrances.

Then comes the friend bit. My friends came to help me out. Kenny & Gary offered their trucks to move my stuff. Aziz was helping me pack & get organised. Edmund came with his staff to help me move several loads. I called my favourite mover, a lorry driver who came with his two sons, to move the big items. He never fails to make me laugh. We became friends in the course of moving several times in the late nineties! Rufus wasn’t very happy at first but he’s already resigned to the fact that this is his new home after the bulk of the items came in. I had to ferry him in my car wherever I went because he was unsettled & whimpered when I left. I can’t have that. So I strapped him to my passenger’s seat & he would be happily restrained by the seatbelt contraption that my cousin, Lisa, bought for him.

Finding stuff that’s been hidden for so long caused me to rekindle a passion that I had for crochet. I made hats, scarfs, gloves, amigurumi (toys), cosies, bags & cases and I wondered where did all that love for crochet go all these 7 years??? God had showed me signs early this year when my orchids that had never flowered since I set foot in that apartment 7 years ago, had started to bloom. He told me it was to be a new beginning. I didn’t understand it then but I did not question Him because I know whatever He brings, it is always good for me. And I started to crochet again. Follow me on Pinterest or selectively follow my Things I Would Crochet board if you want some inspiration!

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I got myself a king sized Luxury Escapes (King Koil) mattress for the new king bed was still in its original wrapping, packed flat, when I got it years ago. I had been sleeping on my existing queen bed all this while, never found a good enough reason to upgrade till now. Guess who has free reign of the bed? ?

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Moving to the countryside has a great advantage of being stress-free & I have many things to post but I have to take some time to find things in this mess & should be quite occupied over the next 2 months!

Category: Personal  Tags: ,  2 Comments

Why Do I Blog & Do You Blog Too?

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I don’t write about mundane things. I don’t think you would want to read about what I do when I wake up as much as what I wake up in & with whom. Wouldn’t that stir your curiosity? ;) 

I spend much of my time outdoors because I can’t see myself getting fat & lazy as writers tend to sit too long to conjure up stories about their subjects when they have no experience to write about. I know of journalists whom instead of following the scene to get news, they would get actors to fake a scene  to make news, but that’s about as far reaching up (or down) the corporate ladder as their standards go. Just don’t believe everything that you read until you verify the facts for yourself. 

Just about anybody who writes a blog is considered a blogger nowadays but what do you actually blog about that details you as a person & most of all, an individual? Why do you read other people’s blogs? What do you hope to get out of reading someone’s blog or by following them? How do you position yourself as an individual? When I started blogging in late 2004, it was a way of expressing what I couldn’t in my work or professional assignments, things that God had led me to do & the encounters with different kinds of people in my life. I detailed my early pageantry participation in a post that made lighthearted sense into a piece that anyone can identify with. When you have skills & use them, looks become secondary to intelligence because over time, beauty fades but your wit will grow with you. Am I afraid of growing old? Well, I’m only afraid of what growing old might prevent me from doing, all my outdoor pursuits in the same vigour that produces my work for you. 

Encounters with caustic people have taught me to know the great disparity between class & crass. I hardly contend with psychopaths for the violent social behaviour that they demonstrate causes me to feel great pity upon them for the life that they can’t have. There are those who are deprived of attention when they lash out on others & that’s entirely their prerogative if they want to be known that way. They are of no consequence to the life I lead & the people who are around me. And I continue producing pieces to engage as much as you want to be engaged. 

If you blog, please remember that your blog is entirely an expression of who you are, what you do & what you deem to represent so when you spew scum or what I would call a solemn utterance with the intention to invoke supernatural powers to inflict harm on anyone, you are indeed, asking for it to be reflected back to you. I firmly believe in Genesis 12:3 as it results from what is said in Proverbs 26:1-3. If you happen to be a person of credence & what you blog about interests the world, people would flock to read about what you have to say but if all you produce is negativity, you will attract all that you deserve, whatever that may be. 

When I’m not writing for my clients, I tweet about life & challenges. I engage people & disengage small minds. I activate what is known as a connection with people, to inspire & rouse them to think on a different level. And I spend a great deal of time looking for God’s marvellous creation in the natural because I love nature & wildlife. I take pictures & videos of them. And I teach my friends to do the same. The simpler you are, the less complicated things will be & the longer you will live. I will not sweat the small stuff. I’m amazed by some of the lies people spin to bring others down. They have such energy to concoct them & coat them with malice to a point that their testimonies become INCREDIBLE. Sometimes it’s so funny to see how the plot is lost in the over-zealousness of such individuals claiming their territory like how animals mark their space with pee. 

Strangely, these are what draws you, as a reader, to my blog each time something happens. If you have come here to catch the latest, I’m promoting a crime prevention programme with NST-Cars Bikes Trucks, AAM & the Royal Malaysian Police in conjunction with Car of The Year (COTY) 2012 happening in November. It’s a free course for women & spaces are limited to 300 only. You can sign up here or visit Venus on Wheels in Facebook. More about it on Monday.