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Thursday, May 28, 2009 @ 11:56 am
I still can't believe that I stayed up just to watch Manchester United lost 2-0 to Barcelona. Not that I watched the match till the very end. After that first goal in the 10th minute, I knew Man U deserved to lose. So I slept for the most of second half match.
When I woke up, I half expected a surprise win from the Red Devils. That would have been sweet! But it was not to be. I didn't even know that Barcelona had scored twice while Man U didn't even bring home a consolation goal until I heard the news.
Oh well... It's not the end of the world. There is always next year.
How hot is the weather today? I didn't sleep well, not because Man U lost, but because I was perspiring in my jammies! The weather has become ridiculously hot and I find myself plastered in front of the fan most of the time. Not only that, I suspect my water usage this month will skyrocket because I've been taking showers up to 4 times daily!
Hopefully the clinic at the hospital today is well-ventilated and air-conditioned. I'm really not looking forward to spend half the day waiting at the clinic.
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Saturday, May 23, 2009 @ 12:52 pm
The summer heatwave has started, hasn't it? I know Singapore doesn't have seasons but the temperature in the last few weeks has been rising slowly. Today, we were told that the temperature had hit 34 degrees. Oh my!
I know people with air-conditioned homes are working their air-conditioners full-time now. Since I chose to live in an environmentally-friendly home, I can only depend on my fans. Fortunately, the commercial buildings in this town are still quite cool.
In fact, the library here is the best place to escape the heat! The temperature in the library is so comfortably cooling that it's really no surprise that people go there not just to read books.
Yesterday, I watched "Angels & Demons" at the cinema. From the Dan Brown books, "Angels & Demons" was the prequel to "The Da Vinci Code". In the movie though, it's a sequel. I think Hollywood was just trying to make nice to the Catholic community after all the fuss "The Da Vinci Code" had made.
Book comparison wise, I've always preferred "Angels & Demons" to "The Da Vinci Code". I bought both books at the same time many years ago and I read "Angels & Demons" first even though "The Da Vinci Code" was the more popular one.
I think it was the controversy surrounding "The Da Vinci Code" that puts me off the novel. I still don't understand its controversy. It's just a damn novel! If it was meant to be taken seriously, then it should have been a non-fiction!
After the disappointment of "The Da Vinci Code" movie (who can forget that awful hair on Tom Hanks???), I had higher expectations for this sequel. What worked for "Angels & Demons" was that the plot didn't require much brain power. So even if one doesn't care about the history of the Vatican, one can just enjoy the running-against-time-to-save-the-city plot.
Professor Langdon (Tom Hanks) has a better haircut now. His requisite female partner is better looking that Audrey Tatou. Finally and without doubt one of the reasons I went to watch this movie was because Ewan McGregor's in it.
One of the bad things about book to movie adaptations is that the storyline is already known. I didn't have to worry too much about that since I had read the book many, many years ago, I couldn't remember much about the details except that Langdon and Co went around Rome looking for the kidnapped priests and antimatter. Also, I knew that Ewan McGregor's character was going to die in the end even though I didn't want him to.
Now what's next in my movie list? "Night at the Museum 2"? "Terminator Salvation"?
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Wednesday, May 20, 2009 @ 12:02 pm
I went for my first antenatal class at the hospital yesterday. I didn't expect much in the first class because it was supposed to be introduction. It was actually about nutrition. I was already way past that phase.
The class didn't last very long because nobody wanted to take a tea break. I think most of the participants just wanted to get this over and done with after a long day at work.
Only one other participant and I didn't have our husbands with us. That didn't bother me so much because I was really tired getting angry about it. I won't even bother talking about it!
I haven't much need to take the train because most of my work and play are so near my home. So when I do take the train, like in yesterday, I was just curious to see if Singaporeans have become more gracious towards those who are truly in need of seats.
Of course when it comes to peak hours, it's every man for himself. It didn't matter if the authorities had dedicated seats to specific groups of people. This isn't just a Singaporean thing though. It's the same in KL too!
Strangely, people tend to be more gracious in the buses. Even during peak hours! I haven't taken the buses in town though, so it might be a different story.
Now that I'm in my third trimester, I look like there's a huge watermelon permanently stuck in my tummy. All that strain in the tummy hurts! And when the baby kicks, she really gives it to me. Sometimes I feel like the baby is just going to burst out of my tummy like in that Alien movie.
I have trouble breathing too. I'm actually breathing in gasps rather than the normal, easy-going breaths. I know I'm not asthmatic, but even if I suddenly develop asthma and suffers an attack, nobody would know because it's just dear, old me in this big house.
Dishes I've last cooked out of anger:
Bubur Lemak Daging (I had to give most of it away because I made a large pot of it)
Apple pie (Half of it given away)
A slice of crumbly apple pie with ice cream (Ice cream goes well with the tartness of the apple pie)
Moussaka, a Greek dish (A bit saltish because I underestimated the salt content of the minced sausages)
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Sunday, May 17, 2009 @ 11:18 am
Last Vesak Day weekend, Ipy and I went to Cameron Highlands. I haven't been to Cameron Highlands since I was a child. Ipy hasn't even been there!
After making the necessary preparations, we started our journey right after midnight. We used the Woodlands Checkpoint instead of Tuas because it was nearer for us. However, because of the new Sultan Iskandar Complex (that's the new Johor Bahru checkpoint), we were unsure of the detoured route to the North-South Highway. We ended up taking the longer route.
We made it to the highway at about 2 a.m. We took turns to drive. As one of us drove, the other would try to take a nap. A strange thing occured while Ipy was driving and I was asleep though. I woke up to find his BMW logo at the front of the car missing!
Ipy said he saw it flew right past him while he was driving. I asked him how fast was he driving. He said... 170 kmh. Was he insane?! I just couldn't keep my eyes off this man even for awhile could I???
Once we reached the state of Perak, we decided to take the new Simpang Pulai route up to Cameron Highlands. It was supposed to be a gentler and more scenic route than the old Tapah route. It was certainly gentler and more scenic. However, it was a longer route when coming from the South. We had to pass by Kampung Raja and Brinchang to get to our hotel at Tanah Rata.
We finally arrived at our hotel at about 8 a.m. Thank god we were allowed to check in. We stayed at the Century Pines Resort, quite a new establishment in Cameron Highlands. I had booked the deluxe suite which cost me RM$308 NETT.
The front and main entrance of Century Pine Resort
Our room was comfortable. Ample space to fit a young family of four really. It felt more like a chalet suite than a hotel suite because our sliding doors led to the garden. This was only possible if your suite was on the ground floor.
Our room was one of those on the ground floor
Our hotel was also near a mosque. So after a deserved rest, Ipy got dressed to walk to the mosque for Friday prayers. I chose to stay in the room and watched television, even though I was starving.
We headed off to the town of Tanah Rata for a very late lunch. We didn't know how far the town was although we were told it was quite near. With respect to my condition, we decided to take the car instead.
The first thing that struck me about the town of Tanah Rata was, there was Starbucks! There wasn't McDonald's but there was Starbucks! I felt like my city self had been saved from the totally strange, laidback world that is Cameron Highlands. This despite the fact that I couldn't have any caffeine at all.
There were many South Indian restaurants here. In fact, I see more Indians living here than I see Malays! We had our lunch at one of the Malay stalls because I suspected Ipy didn't really like Indian food.
After lunch, I said I wanted to visit the Boh Tea Plantation. I have never visited it when I was here eons ago. What I didn't know was that the road up to the Boh Tea Factory was super narrow and super risky. Only one vehicle could use that road for both upwards and downwards!
It wasn't a short ride either. All the time, I was sitting on the edge of my seat, desperately clinging on to the seat. I never liked roller coaster rides, and this felt like one.
After what felt like an eternity, we finally reached the peak in one piece. And what a disappointment it was. There wasn't much to do there except go on the factory tour, which lasted only minutes.
The Boh Tea Factory and Cafe
While waiting for the tour to start, I had some tea and strawberry pie and its cafe. Ipy and I soaked in the scenery. The faint smell of tea lingered in the air. When we arrived, it was already about 4 p.m., so there weren't much action on the tea plantation.
The famous Boh tea plantation
Propeller plane flying above us (not sure what it was doing though)
A tea bush
At the factory, I couldn't understand what the guide was talking about because she had such a thick Indian accent. The smell of processed tea leaves were overwhelming my nostrils too. Besides, the whole process didn't look as magical as I thought it would.
The Boh tea factory
Me buying a packet tea for daddy, which my mom said tasted very good
On the way down from the plantation, we came across a bee farm. I had never been to a bee farm before and the thought of buying freshly-bottled honey was irresistable. The bee farm also sold strawberries, just like most farms here. I wanted to pick some but I guessed the good ones had already been picked.
Me buying honey
Cameron Highlands had another tea plantation besides Boh. It was called the Cameron Valley Tea Plantation and the view of its sloping tea slopes were just so picturesque. Also, the road to the plantation was less risky and visitors could get up close and personal with the tea bushes.
The view of Cameron Valley tea plantation
As I didn't have the pre-pregnancy energy to go hiking up and down the plantation, I just planted my big arse at its tea cafe. I had read on the Internet that this cafe served one of the best scones around.
For RM$12, one can get a scones set with fresh strawberry jam, cream and butter. Complete with freshly-made tea, the scones set were divine. The scones were soft yet not too crumbly. The strawberry jam was indeed fresh because it didn't have the sugar aftertaste like most supermarket jams had. I regretted not buying any strawberry jams at Cameron Highlands.
By the time we finished our English tea, the weekend market at Brinchang had just started. We were told that this was the highlight for the locals every week. The weekend market was just like any other night market with lots of food stalls and knicks and knacks.
Ipy and I had a field day buying food and snacks from almost every stall. People seemed to enjoy fried battered vegetables here. I bought a huge strawberry-shaped cushion for about RM$35. That was after bargaining.
There wasn't much to do after that, entertainment-wise. We had enough of shopping. So we returned to our room to watch television. It was then that we had learnt that the highly-sought after fugitive, Mas Selamat, was caught in Johor.
I couldn't tell you how unbelievable the Malaysian media was about this news. It had irked my long-lost patriotism, which in itself was unimaginable! Unlike the Singaporean coverage which I had learnt when we got home, there was no mention of any Singapore involvement in the arrest by the Malaysian media. In fact, it was actually mocking us!
The following day, right after breakfast, we checked out of the hotel and headed southwards to KL. I don't know why I like going to KL. It's as if a trip to Malaysia isn't complete without stopping by KL.
I would usually stay near KLCC, but this time round, I decided to try staying at Bukit Bintang. I had reserved a superior suite at the Dorsett Regency Hotel, which was just next to JW Marriot, Westin and Ritz Carlton. It was actually across the street from the new Pavilion mall.
We got a high floor so the view was great. It was a non-smoking floor too!
This was exactly how our room looked like
After we dumped our bags and freshened up in our rooms, we walked along the malls at Bukit Bintang. I thought it was a mistake because it was the weekend and the streets were packed with the young and the restless.
We idled our time away at the Sungai Wang Plaza. I had never been to this mall. It looked and felt like a bigger and better Peninsula Plaza. We didn't even cover half of the building because it was that huge and crowded!
When it was finally 6 p.m., we took a cab to Petaling Street. Ipy wanted to come here to buy some t-shirts. People come here to buy fake bags and wallets but I was way past that phase already. We hadn't even reach the end of the street and we were already bogged down by the heat.
Ipy had made arrangements to have dinner with one of his colleagues stationed here. His friend took us to Kampung Baru. I've read about this place but I've never been here. It was actually a food haven for the locals what with the many stalls and restaurants serving local dishes lining the roads.
The hot favourites here seemed to the nasi campur, but Ipy was wary of dishes left in the open so we opted for freshly-cooked food instead. Nevertheless, he became very curious when the stall selling nasi campur next to us began to build never-ending queues. It was a Singaporean thing to assume that if a stall had queues, the food must be good.
After dinner, we went back to our room to freshen up again. His friend was going to take us to a club to chill out later in the night. I wasn't familiar with the night scene at Bukit Bintang, so I wasn't sure where he would take us.
He actually took us just round the corner at Westin where the Q Bar was. It was Salsa night. I haven't been to a Latin-themed club in years, so I felt a little intimidated. We just sat at the bar at people-watched. Not too long later, Liverpool was playing on the telly. Ipy must have been on top of the world surrounded by Liverpool fans in the club. Urgh!
Even though I wanted to stay longer in KL, we had to go home because it was Mother's Day. As the saying goes, nothing lasts forever. Especially holidays.
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Wednesday, May 06, 2009 @ 10:24 am
There was no doubt in my mind that common sense will prevail in the AWARE sage. The climatic showdown last Saturday at Suntec was something that most Singaporeans of my generation had never experienced. In fact, I don't believe there was ever any civil society in Singaporean which had experienced anything like this!
It was heartening to read in the reports that most Singaporeans agreed that religious beliefs should remain separated from civil society groups. This just proved that Singaporeans must be clear on the fine line between faith and secularism to ensure peace in our multi-racial and multi-religious society.
It also proved that women make passionate advocates. I should know. I was once like them before. It was also very rare to be in an event where men were secondary. Most of the men were there at the meeting as escorts to their wives or girlfriends.
Now that that is over, let's all move on.
Last Thursday, Ipy and I watched "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" in the morning. I like going to the cinema when everyone else is either at work or school. It was a pretty good summer action movie. A little heavy on the plot though, but it isn't something that an X-Men fan wouldn't already know.
The supporting casts were a little disappointing except for Liev Schreiber who played Sabretooth. The reviews were right. Any lesser actor would have made Sabretooth a joke.
After the movie, Ipy and I checked out the new Tampines 1 mall. It must be the only mall I know that doesn't have a food court. We had our lunch at F.I.S.H on the 3rd floor. The all-you-can-eat salad buffet is a must try and at only $12.90++, it's certainly value for money.
I was supposed to have tuition that evening but my student postponed it. Last weekend was also a long weekend. We didn't make any plans for a trip, but we decided to drive up to KL. So we went home, made hotel reservations, packed and within an hour, we were on the road to KL.
I've never gone on a trip unplanned, so it was quite exciting for me. Already, I knew what I wanted to do in KL. Buy fabric at Jalan Masjid India! As for Ipy, he was just following his wife's wishes.
We would have reached our hotel earlier if not for the stupid road block on the highway just outside of KL. We didn't understand why 3 lanes had to be merged into 1 lane. Nevertheless, we made it to Concorde Hotel just after midnight.
I like staying at Concorde hotel because of its accessibility to KLCC, the clubs and its reasonable room rates. Since we don't go clubbing anymore, Ipy and I joined the regulars at Hard Rock Cafe (HRC) which was right at the hotel.
We didn't know that the band was playing rock music that night, but we shouldn't expect anything else from HRC. The band was pretty good, and it played all those "mat rock" anthems from the 90s. It was funny to see Ipy relieving his "mat rock" days.
I just sat at the bar and soaked in the atmosphere. We ordered mocktails which I ended up drinking both. Lately, I drink like a camel!
The following day, after breakfast, we walked towards KLCC to take the light rail to Masjid Jamek station. Ipy had never rode on the light rail.
The KLCC station
At Jalan Masjid India, I bought some fabric to be shared between mommy, my sister and myself. A total of 5 sets. Poor Ipy had to carry them and they weren't light. The weather was getting too hot, so we made our way back to KLCC.
I was still full from breakfast and Ipy was too tired to go round KLCC. I think he just didn't want me to shop there. We took a break at Olio Dome which faced the outdoor garden.
Oh! If you're a tourist visiting KLCC, remember to get the tourist privilege card which offered discounts or gifts at most of the shops and F&B there.
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