Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 there it goes

As early as November, i've started reflecting on the year 2009. I decided that it was a good year, a very good year (even before event no.3 ocurred =)

Firstly, i've met the most important 2009 new year resolution: to pass all exam papers! I've passed 2 of the hardest (or so they say) papers in ICAA and am still waiting for the results of the 3rd paper i've taken

Second, i've travelled a lot. Three overseas trips: Bali, Indonesia; Krabi, Thailand and Cambodia. For a full time career woman who is also studying part time, that is a lot, please dont compare me to those full time bloggers okayyy? I also went to Penang Island =)

Third =) One day i'll tell u about the memorable 2112 event. Its the best Christmas present ever, a present from God, from my parents, also from myself. Its the second time one of my biggest wishes came true. Its something i've worked on for about 5 years

2009 is not without failure and tears, sadness, shock and sorrow:

1. I became a snatch thieve victim. But i was not hurt and am thankful for that
2. I did not get promoted early. Oh well, sometimes u need a little failure in life to push u forward
3. Also had some arguments with E, some of them really serious. But we worked it out
4. Gained 2kg when i havent even lost the 5kg i was supposed to lose. Damn

2009, another year that flew by. I decide not to regret anything, i'm happy with 2009 overall =D When I look back at 2009 i shall smile! How many of u feel the same way? Do share

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Day 2 in Phnom Penh

Just to save USD 2, bestfriend and i rode Cambodian style!

Thats not us, but that is certainly what we did. 3 on a bike. Mommy, dont tell Papa! Hahahahah.

Went to Russian Market

Bestfriend had to meet Aussie Scott, who is part of the same NGO as her to discuss the recent carpets sale they had. Their carpets was sold out by lunch in the sale!

Also had breakfast - some fried noodle thing with pork and lots of veggie, USD 1 and freshly squeezed orange juice $0.75

I was paranoid to drink it, Bali made me scared of upset tummies. Phobia! But it was actually fine.

So, my bestfriend's NGO, Carpets for Communities. They buy scrap cloth from factories in Cambodia by the tonne

And they employ people to sort through nylon, cotton and polyester.

They only want the bright coloured cotton

The bright baby blue, fire engine red, vibrant yellow piles of cloth will be passed to poor families. The cloth is for the mother to use to make carpets to be sold. All proceeds will go to the families, so that they will have a source of income and the kids can go to school...

That's Tracy with the yellow bag, from the USA, bestfriend met her at Okay Guesthouse before i went to Cambodia. They went to see the temples in Siem Reap together, even shared a room.

Bestfriend convinced her to visit Malaysia as part of her Asian trip instead of Singapore.

And she did! Stayed over at my bestfriend's house for a few days. Went to Petaling Street to buy jade together. She had a problem withdrawing cash and using credit cards in Malaysia, funny how Malaysia doesnt accept American cards...

She called me a camwhore! HAHAHAH

Russian market from the outside

I love taking pictures in the sun! Dry season in Cambodia when i was there.

Bestfriend had to discuss some NGO stuff with C... cant remember how to spell his name, Cambodian guy

He's the one who gave us both a lift on his motorbike. 3 of us on a bike. We passed his university when he was sending us back to OK Guesthouse. He studied Project Management. Everything was in Khmer. I am actually quite thankful that Malay is written in alphabets

My bestfriend, the backpacker NGO, she keeps saying she wishes she was still in Cambodia. She misses riding her bike around Siem Reap town

The narrow stairway to our room

Found my Cambodian trip thrilling cuz prior to this, i have always went for tours with my family, where they always put u in really expensive hotels but u barely have time to enjoy the ambience: u check it late and ur tired, just enough time to shower and go to bed, and u have to get up early the next day, rush through breakfast and get onto the bus. Its just so wasteful, and the agent earns a commission, its so bullshit to me

Our room has what i call the 'Alladin View'

U know in the Disney movie, the first one, where Alladin's a street rat and he lives in this place that overlooks the palace? Kinda feels like that in the guesthouse! HAHAHAHA

Packed our to catch our 12.45pm bus, had a bite to eat in the Guesthouse canteen/lobby/cafe while waiting for the transport to Paramount bus station

It was a random decision to head to the beach!

Bestfriend is a morning person, she woke up early to read the Lonely Planet while i snoooozed. Since we couldn't see the sanitation projects (as mentioned here), she asked "Should we go to Sihanoukville?", i was still half asleep when i said "Ok, lets go..."

Love love love my bestfriend! =)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

and a Happy New Year!

This is what the office looks like a few days before Christmas. Almost all managers area on leave, seniors too

I've maxed out my leave for studies earlier this year so i worked. Its good, no jam on the way to work, relaxing when u aren't being watched at work. Hahahah

Will try to blog this long weekend (i'm working on Boxing day though)

Also working on 1st Jan. Stockcounts. I'll get to claim mileage and also extra days off in 2010! =)

Yawn, i got up early to work a lil...

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Primary School Reunion

It started with a class photo uploaded on Facebook. I cant remember how old we were, what standard was it when i saw the tag. Next thing i know, there was a Facebook invite for a reunion

We booked a table for 20 at Alexis, Gardens, but only half of those who clicked on "Yes" on Facebook showed up. All the "maybe"s were a no show.

Its kind of the norm these days for me. Work work work, study study study, blog blog blog, chit chat with family, spend time with the bf. And when i see friends its makan and then catch up for HOURSSSSSSSSSSSS

This was no exception. At first i was afraid that we wouldnt go so well, after all, its been over 10 years! I thought i'd leave by 3pm, but nope, Chat all the way from 1.30pm when i got there till 6.15pm!!!

We had a hard time remembering clearly who's who at first, but the conversation never stopped. There was always a memory to reminiscence, a corner of the school to revisit, a classmate or teacher to talk about.

Only the first picture has 10 people cuz we got to the camwhoring sessions after some of them left. Using my Canon Ixus 800 self timer with 5 shots frame =) Love this function

This last few shots with the coffee table was on our way out.

WL said it was a nice view so we took the pix.
I wanted one with the decorations, pardon me, i havent been to a mall since before xmas deco was up.

Oh man why am i so short?!?!? Life ain't fair. No wonder girl in the middle doesnt look as heavy as she says she is. Its cuz she's tall! She's the only one wearing flats. Damn, thats the reason why i always wished i was taller, its easier to stay slim
WL, EC and i headed to Bangsar Village 2 to meet up with DLYY who's back after over 2 years in Melbourne. My Spicy Seafood was tasteless! Never ordering it again, wasted RM 29 there =(

The girls. A couple of DLYY and WL's college guy friends were there too, funny people. One of the guys was working today (public holiday), he said cuz the co he works for is being audited and when he was introduced to me his first words were "I hate auditors!" Hahaha!

Chat from 7ish till 9.45pm! So tired! Another long day tmr! And Sunday too! =D

Thursday, December 17, 2009

She's Back

Bestfriend will only be here for less than a month and then she's leaving for Melbourne. Gonna make the most of it

23 years. Friends since we were in diapers, through those make believe adventures, to Barbie dolls, nail polish, shopping trips, sleepover heart-to-heart sessions...

Add backpacking to that list! Would do it again and again and again!

Life is short, i need to smile more

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Blue Black

Thats the colour of my ego now, its bruised, battered. I'm hurt, emotionally. Its stupid but i cant help it.

If u hate me, here's your chance, laugh away. Good news didnt come my way. I didnt get what i didnt deserve.

It was a trade off, i couldnt have gotten both ways whilst remaining sane. This is it, the consequences of my actions

Friday, December 11, 2009

Monday Night in Phnom Penh

Flight to Cambodia was delayed over an hour. The uncle next to me in the plane, a businessman was pissed about being late for his meeting, he works closely with embassies, in the business of getting foreign workers into Malaysia...

The flight to Cambodia was entirely different, the ex-Cambodian maid who sat next to this Chinese Uncle could speak rather good English and Mandarin, she's going back for good after 5 years of working in Msia. Well dressed, modernly, and she was yakking over handsfree right till take off and would have continued if her battery hadn't died!

Bestfriend greeted me at the airport with a huge big hug, all set with a tut-tut driver and his charriot and off we went into the sunset

=Pampered eh? Hahahahah.

She said she's not there to pamper me in crazy Phnom Penh

"But you're doing such a good job!" i protested =P Hahahha

She already checked into a room at Okay Guesthouse

It's featured in The Lonely Planet, the best tour guide ever! Traveller's Bible/Quoran, whatever, u get what i mean.

Simple room. Just the basics plus a TV. Watched some Jurassic Park on StarMovies

USD 10 (RM34) per night! So its 5-5 each! I came back to KL and had CoffeeBean during group study, one night in Cambodia is almost the same price a large Mocha Ice Blended!

Just cut down on designer coffee and u can travel!

Its safe Xiao Gwei, u dont need 3 star hotels!

See, even got aircond. Which we didnt turn on to save $$

The powerful fan did a fantastic job! Oh and its cold shower but happy to have our own toilet

Off to Godiana hotel to meet this NGO guy, M who works in Oxfam

Bestfriend took me a picture in the lobby. There was a wireless modem for the guest to use internet service and there were quite a few travellers there with their laptops.

3 of us went for dinner a short walk away from the hotel.

Nice ambience, full house, we had to wait a minute for a proper dinner table (and not a coffee table).

Oh! Its one of those places that was full of adventurous whites! In my previous trip to Cambodia in 2006, on a tour with family, they always brught us for Chinese meals in Chinese Restaurants, which was obviously full of Chinese from all over the world! Cambodian food is good!

I'll eat frogs again if i make a third visit!

Recommended i order Fish Amok and i obeyed!

No regrets! =) I taste lemon grass or serai in it, i love it! Bestfriend said she's had better... but this was the best presented Fish Amok she's seen. USD 5 (RM17) with rice.

Picture above taken by a normal camera and without tripod! Not computer edited! Tell me i am good! =P Hahaha

Blur pic of after the meal. So satisfying! That stupid coconut is huge and endless, it can never finish! So much water in there!

Not like tiny Thai ones... also different meat from Malaysians.

Hahah, that last sentence sounds wrong

Headed to FCC, this pub/restaurant bestfriend frequents. Sat on the verrandah on the 3rd floor, overlooking part of the Ton Le Sap river

Windy up there, just chillin out

The Oxfam guy and i

He was explaining what Oxfam is about, they do long term sanitation projects in Cambodian kampongs

Also do emergency projects and he had an emergency meeting the next day so he couldn't bring bestfriend and i go see how those long term projects work. Both she and i were dissapointed but didnt show it

Angkor beer, Cambodia's own fresh brew, really light stuff but being allergic, i stay cautious and didnt drink more than a few sips from her jug

We used his jug of beer to camwhore and used him as a cameraman! HAHAHAH

Friday, December 04, 2009

Best Flight Ever!

Even though the crew was slightly inefficient.

Only started loading the baggage after everyone has boarded.

We were only allowed to get our boarding pass a little less than an hour before scheduled take off time.

Sorry i'm not as glamarous as Ringo of See in the background, those boxes? The owners look Malay, and the Mak Cik responded well when i asked her to take me a picture. They dress like Malays but they hold a Cambodian passport. I am so confused as to their background...

When the queue to check in started moving, this Black guy, W started talking to me. He said he's a student in Malaysia. Winifred College in Jalan Tun HS Lee. Travelling alone. I was ok with chit chat cuz i wanted to be like, come to think of it, she usually mixes with fairer races, i observe from her pictures with strangers.

At first it was okay, small talk. He said he didnt have any friends cuz there are no others from his country in his college and that his classmates cant really speak English, plus race is always an inevitable issue. I understand how it feels like to be an international student, when i was in Australia i did not make any white Australian friends (Will blog about it one day maybe).

So i was ok when he wanted to exchanged numbers. I sincerely wanted to bring him around KL (since he hasn't seen much of KL) after my exam this Tues.

That's before he started to scare me! First he said he's from India, come on, i know how Indians look like, he's the African kind of black!! Started saying more things to freak me out. Big time, i was shit scared. Wanted to sit with me on the plane, wanted to get to know me better, asked if i was married!

And then asked me to call him that night itself! Said he really wanted to hear my voice! Said he loved me!

Officially afraid! I stared at the counter, please let it be my turn! Almost there.

My turn, did the shit and then deliberately did not wait for him, practically ran to the toilet. Wanted to get away quick! Hurridly wanted to get to the boarding area. Thats the officials told me i needed to pay airport tax first and pointed me to the counter! USD25.

I joined the queue, and suddenly the guy was behind me!!!! He spoke to me! Play it cool, tried not to show my fear. He didnt know about the airport tax, i bet u don't know too, do u? He said he doesnt have anymore cash and wanted to borrow USD20 from me! I was super uncomfortable with that. He said he'd return within 3 days, i do not want to see him on Saturday, i need to study damn it!

I lied, i said i dont have any more cash! I am a bad liar, dont know if he saw right through me, i looked away, and thankfully he left me alone, presumably to find an ATM. Phew!

My heart was beating so fast, i panicked whenever i saw a black guy in a white polo tee from afar. Got on the plane, i had window seat. A Malay uncle had the isle seat. I got worried when i saw the empty seat in between Pak Cik and i!

Thank God, this Khmer lady came to sit next to me! She smiled, i smiled back. SO RELIEFED. She's young, wearing a pink tee that says "Human Power", there was a whole group of others like her, wearing the same tee, with the same haircut.

I took a picture of my international roaming before i turned off my phone, she was curious with technology and kept on peering over to see my camera whenever i took a photo. I took a photo with her.

Her English was limited. She could only say and understand a few things. She said my photographs were beautiful =)

I looked out the window as we took off, careful not to block her view. I didnt look at her until i heard her making some uneasy noises. The take off was bumpy. Was surprised to see her holding on to both armrests, she was holding her breath, didnt move, she closed her eyes, and tears streamed down her face.

Pak Cik and i was worried, he was looking at her too. I gave her a tissue paper. I couldnt figure out if she was scared of the flight or that she realized she wasnt going to see her family in a long time. I asked her if she was alright, she said she was okay. By then the plane was cruising smoothly in the air, enroute Kuala Lumpur.

The flight stewardess who was sporting a cool short haircut started giving out cards for non-Malaysians. Pak Cik got her one. I guessed she did not have a pen, i took out mine for her. She took it and looked at the card, she couldnt fill it up, it was all in English! Pak Cik asked for her passport and did it for her!

Hahahah, so nice of him yeah? He asked her to sign the form but she didnt know what he meant. I took her passport and pointed at her signature. She got the message.

Tho Channa, the 21 yr old Khmer girl, then asked him to help her friends fill out their cards! There were so many of them, all of them couldnt read/write English, so i had to help too! They had a sticker on their passport, it says they are entering Malaysia to be household maids.

We were above the clouds for some time now

I took a few more shots and then offered her my window seat which she gladly accepted. My salary isnt fabulous, but i can afford to fly Airasia again, this will be her only flight for some time. The gratitude that showed on her face was priceless

Pak Cik and i started chatting. I guess it was odd for a young Asian gal like myself to travel alone. He was curious to know. The conversation evolved and we were talking about NGOs, cuz thats what my bestfriend is doing. Turns out he's part of an NGO too!

An NGO whose target is poor Muslims, they went to Cambodia for Hari Raya Haji, bought 80 cows for slaughter, each at USD300 (RM1,020 at somewhat current forex rate). In Malaysia, whole live cows costs RM2000 Pak Cik told me. He and a few others went from Muslim Kompong (thats Cambodian spelling for kampung, i saw fr Channa's passport)...

So Pak Cik's NGO, Badan Amal Diniah Malaysia goes from Kompong to Kompong to slaughter and distribute a few cows to the community. So cool! I think my eyes totally lighted up, i was so happy!

"I didnt know there were such Malaysian NGOs" i exclaimed out loud! I asked if i could be part of it, they go to other South East Asian countries too, i was so enthusiactic and estatic!

When i asked Pak Cik if they only help Muslim poverty, he said their main target was Muslims but if there are say, Buddhists in the community, they do not discriminate and would still distribute the meat to the non-Muslims too. Made me even happier!

I took his contact details and gave him my Big 4 name card.

The stewardesses came by our isle to sell food. I ordered water and Pak Cik said he'd pay for me! Even offered Channa cholocate! She doesnt know how to order, so i picked M&Ms, something that she can share with her friends.

Channa didnt know what it was, i opened it for her, and even had to eat one to demonstrate that it's food! She tried one and as she chewed cautiously at first, i watched her eyes opened wide and a smile flashed across her face! Its like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, i bet, even though i never read the book by Roald Dahl

I took the vomit bag from the seat in front of me and used it as paper to teach her how to write her name.

I had to hold her hand at first. But she caught on really fast. I think she's really smart. Yellow M&Ms on her table.

I needed to pee and asked if she wanted to use the toilet too. She didnt know there was a toilet in the plane and was happily asking the others if they wanted to go too! Haha

A Chinese auntie queuing up at the toilet looked at me and Channa with question marks all over her face. She asked "U took her home?" I was like, "Nonono, agency." I should have said more but i was speechless. U cant simply take people home, can u?

The landing announcement came on while i was in the loo. When i came out, there were many Khmer girls waiting to use the toilet! Hahah. Channa and i headed back to our seats.

She went "WOW" at the lights of Putra Jaya/Cyber Jaya/Sepang. My country has never looked so beautiful before this, this time i was seeing it through her eyes

Channa was afraid of landing too, same reaction as take off but less dramatic. She leaned on my arm like as if she was my little sister, but this time she was silent.

It was my turn, i wanted to cry, i looked up and held back tears, i was praying hard that the family she is going to work for will be patient and will treat her well. I know they need a maid, not looking to do charity but please please give her a good home!

I saw Channa and said our final goodbye, she smiled and waved, i like her spirits, wish her well.

Its a ritual for me to take a picture of whatever AirAsia plane i take. I saw a black guy, wearing a polo tee descend those stairs, but i didnt want to run away, i MUST take a picture of my plane!

Tried taking self shots of me and the plane, Pak Cik saw and helped me! =D

I stuck to Pak Cik, his friend and another Malay couple and son with them, so W, the scary guy would see that i am with company! Hahah.

Thankfully W didnt approach me again, probably pissed that i didnt lend him the USD 20? I feel a little bad... would u lend a stranger USD 20?