March 12, 2011

Bleak Days For Tsunami-hit Japan

IT was going to be another beautiful weekend despite the crazy inconsistent weather bringing too much sun one day and a stormy day the next. And we complain, rain or shine until news hit us on Friday – the tsunami is back, raging in Japan, killing hundreds.

Hearts dropped, tears welled and fears set in – what next? Who is safe? Families, friends, colleagues, pets … they could be anywhere, in the massive wreckage washing through cities and Japan's farmlands.

Is it really TGIF?

Credit: STRAFPGetty Images

From this Saturday onwards, everything is bleak, especially for those in Japan although almost the entire world is actually affected. No country is occupied by just one nation. All nationalities are there – working, studying, visiting.

There are tears the world over. Some may never come home ever again. Some who are alive will suffer such dark bitter days with the memories of the year’s worst horror.

It was ironic that a day before the disaster my girlfriend who came round to my place was telling me about her mum’s and sisters’ plans to visit Japan anytime soon for their nephew’s graduation.

And on Friday she was posting in FB of how relieved she was after getting to connect with him via YM.

“Thank God my nephew in Saitama is safe n sound. Was a bit worried tho' when I couldn't reach him thru his mobile coz I know he's been travelling to other cities in Japan the last few days n what a great relief when I finally did get hold of him on YM...”

Credit: TORU YAMANAKAAFPGetty Images

Her friend also wrote on her FB wall of her cousin’s situation in Tokyo, trapped in her children’s’ school, with her kids and unable to contact the husband. The kids were freezing as they had left their coats in class as they were rushing out for safety.

Another friend expressed her feeling of helplessness as she watched the live footage of the tsunami.

“Helplessness as I listened & watched Taro-san as he calmly tells me how he doesn't know where his in-laws are, unable to comfort his wife who's upset, not sure if he's able to do anything now. All I could say then is my prayers are with him, his family & his country.”

Image: STRAFPGetty Images

Perhaps what another friend wrote on her FB wall would send the message home: “Maybe we should start realising that we are blessed each day of our lives, maybe we should start thanking Him more often for everything that we have, maybe some of us just realised how lucky we are ...but honestly, do we need a catastrophe to wake us up? I don't think so.”

Quote for Day 69

Image: Underwater Bubbles - ARTIFOX
"Life as you know it, can be gone by the most gentle and conforming force of nature" - TOMMY CURL

March 11, 2011

Quote for Day 68

Image: Hello My Friend - ATOSTES
We do not need an intelligent mind that speaks, but a patient heart that listens! - TTS

March 10, 2011

Claypot Dishes At One World Hotel

Zuan Yuan Chinese Restaurant is the signature Chinese restaurant of one World Hotel in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia.

Known for its beautiful interior of silver leaf ceilings and ebony doors complete with artefacts of wine jars complementing the décor, the words Zuan Yuan means “a treasure trove of gems”.

Diners can savour many Cantonese specialties at this restaurant, man by skilled cooks and chefs.

Freshly cooked Claypot dish at Zuan Yuan restaurant.
Zuan Yuan’s specials include its 8-course set menus, which are favourites for those hosting big gatherings such as family reunions or company dinners or just about any occasion.

If you delight in dim sum then come for lunch where you will find various types of dim sum made available daily.

Your dining experience will be incomplete without indulging in the restaurant’s extensive list of Chinese teas. Get the wait staff to assist you should the selections be a little overwhelming for you.

This month, Zuan Yuan is promoting Claypot dishes specially created by Chef Michael Chew.

Cooking in clay pots gives food a fuller taste since the slow-cook method allows the ingredients to blend well before the dish is removed from the stove.

The thickness of the claypot also keeps food warm for a longer time as compared to using other types of cooking ware.

The various tempting claypot creations are served during lunch and dinner.

One World Hotel
First Avenue
Bandar Utama City Centre
Petaling Jaya
Tel: +6 03 7681 1111
Res: +603 7681 1159
Lunch: Noon-2.30pm
Dinner: 6.30pm-10.30pm

Quote for Day 67

Image: The End - OMIR ONIA

A lot of memory is on the table - Designer (Travel&Living)

March 9, 2011

Mass Comm Students Turned Journos

I HAD an inspiring day today. For the first time in my life I became the subject of an interview – on journalism and why I chose the profession.

The interviewers were two mass-communications students, Sylvia Chew and Jeeva Reuben from IACT College (Institute Advertising Communication Training) who were doing the assignment as part of the course they are on.

Sylvia and Reuben arrived at Nyonya Colors on the spot, at 12.30pm as arranged. Hmmm…very good. Very punctual – a discipline adhered to by most journalists or they stand to lose out on a story.

Of course there were the “formalities” - smiling, shaking hands, nodding heads in acknowledgement as to who’s who before we all sat down.

They seemed eager to start the session, refusing my offer for some drinks. Maybe they were rushing off somewhere, I thought. I was just taking my time. It was only noon and I was just waking up.

“So,” I said, “what do you want to know?”

I caught the tail end of Reuben’s answer: “... 10 questions.”

Hiya! I thought. No fun. Can’t play “diva journalist” role now.

“Ok,” I said despite the disappointment. “Shoot.”

Reuben flipped open his piece of paper where he noted all the questions every now and then, reminding me of my rookie years.

Sylvia flipped open a notebook with pen in hand. Reuben trusted his hand phone to record the interview. Wah…canggih (upbeat) students. I hope his recording gets messed up (another journalists’ nightmare, which happens often)…hehehe (evil laugh) then he will have to squeeze his brains or beg Sylvia to share notes.

Meet Mass Comm students Sylvia (L) and Reuben after I forced them to pose for my camera.
“Here’s my chance,” I thought silently. “Time to scare them a bit.”

Aloud, and with a bit of a stern look I said: “You’re recording me?”

Reuben hesitated a bit but Sylvia was quick to ask, supported by Reuben a minute later: “If you’re ok with it?”

“Do you know that before recording anyone you have to get prior permission? Some people don’t like it.”

They nodded.

Hehehe, saja la, just to play a fool a bit. It’s been a long time since I spoke to a newbie.

I gave a one minute “lecture” on why the permission bit blah blah blah.

Youngsters these days, I thought. They must be thinking “ol' school fart” (of me).

Both of them started asking questions, very articulate but I noticed while Sylvia always looked straight into my eyes, Reuben avoided them.

Alamak, I thought again. Now got to remove my shades. Maybe he is feeling intimidated. You know the saying: when you can’t see a person’s eyes when talking to them it makes us uneasy. And true enough, he relaxed a little after I placed my bumble-bee shaped shades on the table.

They asked quite a bit of question. I was feeling a little bored ‘cos I was doing a lot of talking, and wanted them to push me a bit more. They didn't seem curious. Maybe I was boring. Yeah, I know. I’m known for talking a lot. But don’t worry. It’s never empty talk for me.

At the same time I was reading them. At times they threw glances at each other. Maybe signalling each other to just “b!##%*y-stop-this-woman-from-talking-please-so-we-can-go-shopping” or something.

“Anything else?” I asked after some time.

A few sheepish grins and Sylvia said, “I think that’s it.”

“OK,” I said with a huge smile.

Both of them got up to leave but not without shaking my hands first.

All my life I've been the interviewer but today Sylvia took over that role.
Wow, Sylvia’s hands so soft! Wonder what hand soap she uses. Reuben? Reuben suddenly jumped on me and said: “Didn’t get your name.”

Aiyo! Hello? Interview finished already baru nak tanya nama (you’re asking for name after the interview is over)???

I smile slyly and thought to myself: Ahhh…mana boleh (this is not right). Buat interview tak tahu nama orang (how can you conduct an interview without knowing the person’s name)?

“I know,” I replied.

I purposely didn’t tell them my full name at the start because I wanted to know if they realise that that is the first rule of an interview – know who you are talking to. And by that I mean know the full name.

“You must always get the full name of the person you interview before you start an interview,” I pointed out sweetly.

Sylvia grinned. She has something up her sleeves.

“I know your name,” she said grinning.

“I found out when I was checking your e-mail and it pointed to your weblog and your photo site links inside,” she added.

I smiled to myself. She will make a good journalist. Very sly, very quick and daring.

As for Reuben – very articulate BUT a little shy. Look them in the eye, Reuben. In the eye! Take control of the interview and not let the interviewee control you.

The golden rule of a journalist – to get a good story, you have to do the prodding not the other way around. If your interviewee talks too much and stray from the topic, giving you info you don’t need, subtly cut them so you keep to the purpose of your interview, which in turn guarantees you the meat of your story.

But if the interviewee is pouring out more than you asked and the info is relevant, learn to seal your mouth and lap them up.

Sylvia and Reuben want to go into broadcasting but nothing is set on stone yet. I’ve asked them to start building their portfolio online from now so they have something impressive to show for future job interviews. I can’t wait to see them when they are up and running.

I hope they enjoyed our little chatter. Feel free to tweak my brains again, even if just to entertain me.

And, oh, sorry I couldn’t give you the cliché “journalist quote”.  My “the industry is a whole lotta shit” sure won’t fit in your study report ;)

Quote for Day 66

Clipart: Mr. Toon 1-AUNGKARNS /Architetto-Donna Casinista-ANONYMOUS
"People don't bump into each other and have sex. This is not Cinemax." - Jerry Seinfeld

March 8, 2011

The Bakery Moments For Lunch Date

I feel like I'm chasing time lately and it eludes me again and again. Is 24 hours really enough to finish all that we need to finish in a day? It doesn’t look like it for me.

Green, white and everything right.
At times I wish the days are longer than the nights because I tend to be working all the time. But for those living in countries that experience daylight for continuous months they must be wishing the opposite of what I wish for.

Anyway, I took a break from work today; just a little break. After sending off a CD containing shots I took on a photo assignment to a client I rushed off for a quick lunch with a friend.

We went to a food outlet near her office. It was a random choice and what a good one.

She was having lunch while I was having brunch – Nasi Lemak with a Flat White. She had Mango Tango Smoothies with Dancing Chicken Mushroom sandwich.

It was just a small café called The Bakery Moments located within a residential mall belonging to Sunrise Berhad in Mont Kiara.

I like the café’s setting, which is based on an open concept. The work station where food and drinks are prepared serves almost like a simple bar complete with the cashier station.

The seating area can accommodate about 30 people maybe and that makes the outlet warm and cosy – not too quiet and yet not too busy.
Simple, no frills, no fuss - just the way I like it.

The Nasi Lemak is served steaming hot, just as promised on the menu board. It is served on a plate with the basic condiments of fried groundnuts, slices of cucumber, half boiled egg, crisp tiny fried anchovies and a sambal dish. The sambal is tasty despite being just a simple recipe containing fried ground chillies and onions.

I was pleased with the service because for the first time ever my coffee came together with my food, which is rare in most outlets here. So I have no complains on my coffee being cold. The wait staffs are efficient as well and communicate well with their customers.

There is still one thing I need to know though. What coffee beans do they use? I did ask but the wait staffs were not able to tell me the answer. The Flat White I ordered was actually Norwegian Coffee as listed in the bill.

Does anyone know what brands come under Norwegian coffee? The coffee drink looks good as plain black coffee but it has a murky colour when mixed with fresh cream. It has an average taste - nothing spectacular.
Nice quiet ambience at The Bakery Moments.
Lunch was just an hour and in our rush I forgot to ask my friend how was her sandwich and smoothies. Maybe next time.

I would recommend this place if you need a nice corner to chat with friends over simple food. I’m sure I will drop by again another day to taste the sandwiches.

Unit L1-25
No. 1 Jalan Kiara
1 Mont Kiara
Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +6 016 223 8070 / +6 012 639 2003

Quote for Day 65

Clipart: Closed Chibi Hand - WSNACCAD

God gives. God takes. God's fair - Anon

March 7, 2011

No Plastic Policy

Today's bitch is brought to you by good friends, stupidity and idiocity.

Ok, my friends know that I'm not really into recycling, and I'm certainly not a tree-hugging conservationist, but I do, repeat, do support initiatives to protect the environment. After all, I'm going to be around at least another 50 years to enjoy it (or be poisioned by it).

Today's rant is a reflection on certain organisations environmental policies, and the oxymoronic and hypocritical approach they take to saving the environment.

Yes, it's true, the current generations are totally destroying the world.

Lush forests are being replaced by high-rises and beautiful fresh water rivers look more like toxic waste ponds.

An initoiative in Malaysia, which is receiving attention is the 'plastic beg free days', a time when shops or other organisations don't give you plastic bags for your purchases, as their contribution to reducing waste.

At first I hated the concept, but then I learnt which days are for what and arranged accordingly. After all, a 1/7 reduction in plastic waste is a great thing. So now I support the initiative.

But it seems to me that people's awareness of the purpose of this is clearly misunderstood.

I went to a government medical provider today for a check-up and to get new medicine, to which they generously provided me almost an entire pharmacy of drugs.
Cliparts: Hand And Pills-JOHNNY AUTOMATIC / Medicaments-SPADASSIN / Open Mouth-NICUBUNU / Pointing Hand-THEGEMINI / Medicines-LAURENT / Callout Star-NICUBUNU &

When the staff passed the meds over, I asked for a plastic bag to put the multitudes of fine chemicals in, only to be told: "Sorry sir, we have a plastic bag free policy here".

Great initiative, but hang on a second, my multitudes of drugs came neatly packaged in tiny little plastic bags, labelled from the provider!

Oxymoron, do or don't?

I support the initiative, but get it right and do it whole hog - it's a bit stupid refusing to give a plastic bag because of policy when you've just handed me over 10 of them.

I do wonder if they see the stupidity?

Quote for Day 64

Clipart: Red Faced Ghoul - JULIAF

Hate is such an evil word and yet it lives within us in many guises - Anon

March 6, 2011

Quote for Day 63

Clipart: Witch With A Crystal Ball - LIFTARN

This is how I feel today. Stay out of my way if you know what's best for you.