Friday, November 25, 2005


How could people live in such pretense? And how could I have been so blind to it?
But I guess some people do live in pretense, but are so used to it, that it is reality to them. The pretense of having it all, the outward projection to others that one is doing well, having the latest of everything, and being branded from head to toe. Embalmed in Gucci, Prada and LV, I can never understand. The need to look your best at all times, never showing your weaker self, as it is a sign of vulnerability. Yes, we do all live in a world of pretense. I could never stand being in that world - the false cheap compliments, the fake smiles, chats on high society, on haves and have-nots...

I treasure those who dare to show their true selves, who are not trapped by the need to possess material things to show their worth. Those who confess that they have weaknesses, those who give you real compliments and tell you the truth even when it hurts, those who have a heart for others, not so engrossed in themselves and making themselves look good. There are so many others out there, who have a need, to love or be loved, whose needs far exceed that of owning the latest gadgets. Do we want to leave this earth and consume as much as we can possibly get our hands off, never once... making a difference even in another's lives?

It's always easier said than done. As after all, when we step out, we step into that world of pretense. But, it is possible. Why buy things you don't need to impress people you don't like? How could I have been so blind?

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Treasure your girl-friends

One of the more meaningful forwarded emails that I've gotten from one of my closest friends..... and oh how true it is.. for so many times in my life where my girl-friends have been there for me :) Thank you for being honest with me even when I don't want to hear it, thank you for being there at any time of the night whether it's 3am or 5am, thank you for taking such good care of me and being concerned all the time. You know who you all are :)

After 52 years of living in this world, here is what I've learned:

A young wife sat on a sofa on a hot humid day, drinking iced tea and visiting with her mother. As they talked about life, about marriage, about the responsibilities of life and the obligations of adulthood, the mother clinked the ice cubes in her glass thoughtfully and turned to her daughter in a clear, sober voice.

"Don't forget your girlfriends," she advised, swirling the tea-leaves to the bottom of her glass. "They'll be more important as you get older. No matter how much you love your husband, no matter how much you love the children you'll have, you are still going to need girlfriends. Remember to go places with them now and then; do things with them.And remember that 'girlfriends' are not only your friends - but your sisters, your daughters, your daughter-in-laws and other female relatives too.You'll need other women. Women always do."

"What a funny piece of advice," the young woman thought. "Didn't I just get married? Haven't I just joined the couple-world? I'm now a married woman, for goodness sake, a grown-up, not a young girl who needs girlfriends! Surely my husband and the family we'll start will be all I need to make my life worthwhile!"But she listened to her mother; she kept contact with her girlfriends and befriended more each year.

As the years rolled by, one after another, she gradually came to understand that her mum really knew what she was talking about. As time and nature work their changes and their mysteries upon a woman, girlfriends are the main stays of her Life."

After 52 years of living in this world, here is what I've learned:

Time passes
Life happens
Distance separates
Children grow up
Love waxes and wanes
Hearts break
Careers end
Jobs come and go
Parents die
Colleagues forget favours
Men don't call when they say they will

BUT girlfriends are there, no matter how much time and how many miles are between you. A girlfriend is never further away than needing her can reach.When you have to walk that lonesome valley - and you have to walk it for yourself - your girlfriends will be on the valley's edge, cheering you on, praying for you, pulling for you, intervening on your behalf, and waiting with open arms at the valley's end. Sometimes, they will even break the rules and walk beside you. Or come in and carry you out.The world wouldn't be the same without them, and neither would we.

When we began this adventure called womanhood, we had no idea of the incredible joys or sorrows that lay ahead. Nor did we know how much we would need each other.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Perfectionist I am...

It's in my blood. I am a perfectionist in rehab.... as these are my first few months of work, and yet I still carry the 'perfectionism' into my work. I thought that I'd put it away after Uni. Today is a great day for me. I had my first performance evaluation from my supervisor and I'm really happy with it. All the hard work, struggles and challenges for the past few months suddenly feel... worth it. A real sense of accomplishment.

Yet, as I look back, not only for these few months but throughout my life in all aspects, when I am in the process of doing my work, I never feel good enough. I always feel that I should be doing a better job, I should improve on this and that, I need to strive harder. And I always feel surprised when someone else tells me that I'm doing a good job, because to me, what I am doing is never good enough. Don't know if this makes sense but it's true about how I feel. I remember my best friend telling me, "I'm not gonna believe you anymore, because everytime you say you did badly in an exam, your results do not show it." In all honesty, I really meant what I said that I didn't feel that I did well at all... that I totally screwed up.

And that's what I've been feeling for the past few months at work - I'm not good enough for the role. I should be doing this and that. I am not meeting the expectations set for me. Basically, I always carry a big burden on my shoulders, perhaps it's time to learn some of the burden go and be more lenient towards myself :) But.. what if, it's in my blood? And I can't seem to get it out of my system.

Nevertheless, I feel relieved today. I feel a sense of ... achievement. Praise God! Who am I without Him?

Monday, November 14, 2005

Divine Love

What do you say to a love that is so pure and perfect? How do you even begin to describe it? Despite what you have done and how much you have grieved another's heart, and still... you are forgiven. Everything's forgotten, you are washed clean. What about a love that believes in you, still trusts despite your many broken promises, still perseveres despite your stubbornness, still there when hope is gone? A love that makes you feel so secure, because despite how you look, how you feel inside, you are always... accepted, just the way you are. As imperfect as you can be, yet loved for every flaw. What kind of love is this? It's agape, simply agape.

Before the world began,
You were on His mind,
and every tear you cried,
was precious in His eyes,
Because of His great love,
He gave His only Son,
Everything was done,
So you would come.

Nothing you can do,
Could make Him love you more,
Nothing that you've done,
Could make Him close the door,
The power of the word,
The power of His blood,
Everything was done,
So you would come.

Come to the Father,
Though your gift is small,
Broken hearts, broken lives,
He will take them all,
The power of the word,
The power of His blood,
Everything was done,
So you would come.

"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8: 38-39

Wednesday, November 09, 2005


I realized that there are not many people out there in this world that you can connect with at a 'deep' level. Coming back home, I realized most Malaysians are not very interested in each other's lives. U have that usual 5 minutes conversation to get some brief background of someone you just met just for the heck of courtesy. Not many out there are really interested to know you. I am guilty of that as well. I've got my moods, and if I don't click with someone in the first 5 minutes, I really can't be bothered.

Having said that, I really treasure those that I can relate to at a deeper level. Not just talking bout the latest fashion, trips, movies, food and what nots but really talking bout life and such. I always need an outlet for my many thoughts. And thanks to my weekly email therapy, I've been able to achieve that. Thank u!! :) U know who you are. Thanks for being a witness to my life, analyzing it from a whole different perspective and understanding what I'm actually saying. It really means a lot. I guess not many people can relate to that side of me. And yes, I've always wanted to be a writer. ;)

Monday, November 07, 2005

Oh no... not again!

I'm back home, after a long day at work where my mind was still at Seoul .... but my car is not home!

No, it didn't break down. I was stuck in the parking lot because my season parking pass wouldn't let me out. Ok, guilty. I haven't paid for my parking fees... but come on, I could get in this morning. Usually if you don't pay, you can't even get in!

Ironically, after lunch today, one of my colleagues was asking me if he could borrow some money. I was short on cash today and I asked him why. He said he hasn't paid for parking.. and it occurred to me, hey me too! Thinking that I managed to get in today, it should be fine... I'd just pay tomorrow.

Oh, how much did I regret doing that when I saw that the parking pole wouldn't budge as I desperately try to beep myself out!! There was this guard there who was trying to help me, and I told him to please let me out... "I'd pay tomorrow I promise". He said that the other guards are not around anymore and the parking lady is not there to collect the fees so he can't do anything. I might as well leave my car there tonight and figure out a way to go home.

I told him I could get my collaegue to beep out and if I drive REALLY close to him, perhaps we could get out together. I called my colleague, he said my idea was nuts! "If it was so easy, we all could share one parking ticket and drive real close to each other in a row!" Ok, fine. Anyway, thank God he was nice enough to send me home. And ironically again, the same colleague who reminded me to pay for my parking fee during lunch. Oh how he laughed his head off. I said "These things only happen to me". His response, "It only happens to you coz you are so stubborn!! ;)"

What an awful lesson to learn to pay your parking fees on time! And please, let me be able to locate my car tomorrow and get out of that car park!

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Seoul searching: Day 5

Last day in Seoul. Can't believe a week has gone by. Time flies when you are having fun. Looking extremely stoned due to my lack of sleep the night before, we could not even think properly on what to do today. We asked to break from the tour but since we have fulfilled our retail quota in the wee hours of dawn and feeling extremely broke... we decided to stay with the tour.

Went to visit some Kimchi place whereby they let us make our own Kimchi. Kinda... the cabbage was already all washed and soaked and the "preservatives" were all set. We just needed to rub the preservatives on the cabbage. Nevertheless, great fun coz we have been eating kimchi for breakfast, lunch and dinner so it made sense to learn to make it. In olden days, Korean women who can't make kimchi would have difficulties getting married! Man, these people do love and take their kimchis seriously!

At the same venue where we have the Kimchi making, we could also wear traditional Korean costumes to take photos. The costumes were pretty... but it made us look real fat. Like 5 months pregnant or something... hahaha.

Thank goodness we stayed with the tour coz we were brought to Sichon, a nice shoppin place. Due to lack of funds, the retail fun died down for us. But the place really reminded me of Melbourne... the little shops along the road with many things to purchase.. something like Brunswick St. Very lovely.

And that was that... we went souvenir shopping at the last minute. Always impulsive as we tried to finish the wons. Had just enough money for lunch at the airport. And off we went home.... back to reality!

It was a great trip!! And even more so, the company I went with! 4 crazy people who are photo freaks, shopaholics and are comfortable being ourselves just made the trip so much more memorable as we created our own fun in every situation (even the fact we could not understand fully what the tour guide was saying).... and except for that ginseng tour which even photo opportunities could not be thought of *grins* .... all in all, I love you guyz heaps!!!!!

Seoul searching: Day 4

It's World Cup Stadium visit in the morning today. Again, for many this would just be another tour site but due to our crazy, innovative minds... we came up with many ideas to make it interesting. The music was great.... gives that triumphant spirit to the stadium that is now empty. We recorded a video of ourselves pretending to watch a football match... hahaha... took 2 takes and it was parfait! ;)

We then went to Walker Hill Casino.... not a gambler and nothing compared to Crown casino in Melbourne. I took the opportunity to walk around the shops, engulfed with the many perfumes, well dressed ladies and men & all the luxuries of the world. Yet, I still can never understand the need for such pretense as I see the men and women looking at all the branded items and looking all prim and proper.

Dinner was early and we were served Bibimbap.... simple dish on stone bowl and simply delicious! Chin Ai's dream come true (but we didn't know it at that time that we were eating bibimbap). It was the first time Jes was quiet during mealtime ;) We were then off to Lotte World... another theme park in a shopping complex. Little did we know that the Water world called "Magic Land" or something was so much larger than the complex. Like a world of its own. Went on some amusement rides and such! Loved the thrill!! Woohoo! Congrats also to Jes for overcoming her fear :) So proud of you!!

After 4 hours of crazy rides, we then checked in to Crown Hotel. It was already 10.30pm by the time we got to our rooms. But it was our last night at Seoul. We were planning to break off the tour the next day to do more shopping and just enjoy Seoul. However, the tour guide wasn't too pleased as we didn't speak Korean and even with the tour we were always late, lost and roaming around.

Then, I had an idea. Sitting in our hotel room with a little map of the Subway and Seoul city, and recalling that the Korean colleague stating that Dongdaemun shops open till 5am... I said "Why don't we go now to shop?" and it was a point of no return. Chin Ai, Kit and Jes agreed in unison and off we went to Itaewon station, walking with a single map and with no knowledge of Korean words except for "How are you?", "Thank you", "You are beautiful", "Discount please" and "Expensive"... all which were used for obtaining discounts! :)

With Chin Ai having the best 'sense of directions', she guided us to the station and we successfully changed trains etc without getting lost! Amazing. And wow... the shops are definitely open till 5am. The Koreans shopped like it was only 8pm... when it was already 11.40pm when we arrived. Markets were open, departmental stores, and food stalls were filled with people. And the shopaholics, being shopaholics, went nuts shopping ... till 3.30am! Till our feet were so sore.... from walking, and after trying some local delicacies at the roadside food stalls. Thanks Kit for your patience!! We were contented and broke. Things are not cheap at all! We had to consult each other to ensure we are making only good purchases. And those few Korean words we knew did go far! My best bargain was from 50,000 won to 10,000 won! Woohoo!

Took another hour or so to squeeze everything into my luggage when we got back to the hotel at 4am... slept for an hour and a half that night and off we went to meet the rest of the tour people at 7am. We contemplated exploring more of Seoul but I was already contented.. I voted to stay with the tour.

Seoul searching: Day 3

Day 3 we were taken to the War Memorial... and I tell you, I never had so much fun at the War memorial thanks to my 3 crazy friends who can think of any sorts of ways to have crazy fun!

We climbed up the tanks, I got an inspiration for doing that "Noooo!!!" in front of a stationary tank (inspired by Austin Powers part 1), laid down flat on the ground in front of another stationary tank, did crazy poses at the monuments! Luckily we didn't get arrested for making a mockery of the War Memorial! :) Ok, I did learn something... I think! :)

After all that, we were brought shopping at Itaewon. It was our first taste of shopping in Korea and boy, were we disappointed at how expensive things were! And it's one of the cheaper places already in Korea... for once, 3 shopaholic ladies came out empty handed after an hour. What a feat! Never in history. :)

After lunch, we went to Gyeongbuk Palace, just one of those "must see" places. Wasn't too impressed with the architecture... was pretty dry I must say. Nevertheless, great photo opportunities again...

At dinner, Jes' colleague from Korean office met up with us... and we went to Top Cloud, a very posh restaurant with a splendid view of Seoul city! It was awesome.... jazz bands, cocktails and such. The toilets had a spectacular view of the city skyline and the tap can only be switched on by placing your feet on these 2 footprints painted on the floor. Took me like 3 minutes to figure that out. Very clever. Breathtaking... classy... loved it! It made me realize how global my company was.... to meet these Korean colleagues who spoke perfect English and knew some of my colleagues back home too! They also took us on a stroll downtown Seoul at night... walked by a place where the road was now converted to a stream, very pretty. Loved the neon lights that illuminate the back alleys, just as I see in movies.

Interestingly, some Japanese tourists stopped us and thought we were Jap. We conversed in all the Jap we knew and said we were Malaysians. They seemed pretty impressed with Malaysians speaking Jap in Korea so they asked for a photo! Very cute. We walked the streets of Seoul, snacking at the roadside stalls, making sarcastic remarks, talking bout our firm and projects.... had an awesome time! A really Seoul-ful experience that night... just as I imagined it.

Seoul searching: Day 2

We woke up at 5am today to go to Mount Sorak National Park for a cable car ride and a little hike to the peak. It was sooo sooo sooo beautiful, it's indescribable. The tour guide told us to hold our photo taking frenzies (our group was the worst in this sector) but we couldn't resist but to snap a few. I mean, u cannot reverse sunrise, and we are only here ONCE... so it's justified to be rebellious ;)

The view from the cable car was amazing, like a postcard, with 3 shades of gold, red and brown leaves and a little stream with white pebbles. We then went for a little hike to the peak, and the higher we went, the view got better and better. Even my camera could not keep up with my photo snapping that the battery was almost flat by 9am. :) It was all worth it :)

After Mount Sorak, we were off to Everland... something like a Movie/Dream world sorta thing, Korean style. Was a little skeptical at first, because after all, these places are all the same. But I must say these Korean trained animals are awfully intelligent! The sea lions can brake dance to clubbing music, they even train guinea pigs, geese, zebras, monkeys to act like humans etc etc...and I had a thought... does this mean that the animals are Korean? The parrots did speak in Korean... :) So animals can be trained in all languages. ;) We also went on a wild life safari and saw life lions, tigers and cutest of all, many bears standing up begging for food... so adorable. Always wanted to go on a Night Safari so this fulfilled it for me :)

We also amused ourselves later at the souvenir shops with many crazy pictures which had to be censored on this blog so I don't embarrass myself in public! :) Sometimes it's the company and not necesarily the tour that makes my trip "seoul" fun!!! :D

Seoul searching: Day 1

I just got back from my trip to South Korea for 5 days. It was seriously breathtakingly beautiful! :) And my friends and I had crazy fun! Seriously CRAZY!!

We flew on Korean Air, and once we touched down at Incheon International Airport, we were transferred to Nami Island. This island is famous due to the popular Korean series, Winter Sonata (which I attempted watching before the trip but had to fast-forward). Nevertheless, the golden leaves that illuminate the stretch of poplar trees are simply amazing that you don't need to watch the series to appreciate it. :)

After many many poser shots and feasting on Korean delicacies (mainly potato-made stuff), we were on our way to some other place where they filmed "Autumn in my heart".... got no idea what that movie was about, but nevertheless worth a visit ;)

Stayed at Freya Naksan resort that night... first thing we realized was "Where are the beds???!" and found out that there were actually mattresses and pillows and quilts which were the "Korean" way of sleeping. Hmmm... :) It was actually very warm and comfortable! The funniest bit about the tour was that since the Korean guide only spoke Mandarin, he was telling us about how to stack the mattresses "Thick mattress below, light mattress on top to cover it", and due to my limited Mandarin vocab, I thought he said "We are having Korean BBQ tonite, so make sure you put the thick pan below and cover with a light lid to cook"... Hahahaha...