Category Archives: Summer

Trickling

Holding on to ideas have been like trying to keep water in the cusp of my hand. They either trickle away before I could work on it or if I manage to hold on to them it turned stale within the next few days. Perhaps I should get a physical journal or notebook to scribble on while I’m commuting or at work (I can yet afford an Ipad/tablet with my own money) and scan my works and upload when I get home. The following list are some of the things I have intended to write but have yet to start or finish writing :

1. A short story for a project with the Institute of Creative Minds.

Initially it was supposed to be a collection of fables/legends/short stories for from around the world, and then it was sort of forgotten and then there was Animotion which features real time animation with theater. Recently I checked on the website Animotion was replaced with Audiovisual Orchestra real time animation with live music. I might have possibly missed the boat to collaborate with one of the most impressive visual/performing/live arts ever.

2. Mambang@TEDxKL

The first part out of 3 which I intended to finish writing was actually noticed by one of the organising team members and she contacted me to ask if they could curate my writings for their records or something like that. It’s been more than a month and I’m still not done yet. I still have the notes taken during the event though. Possible to pick up and continue writing this.

3. The Unexpected Interview

The meeting was unprecedented. My mum’s friend only told us he invited a friend of his at the very last minute to our little breaking fast gathering during Ramadhan. Turns out he was one of Malaysia’s greatest choreographers. Through our conversation  he gave us his thoughts on Malaysia’s performing arts scene, having a career in performing arts in Malaysia, and funny encounters during auditions. This piece is still in the draft folder.

4. I think I got hinted at a proposal

The past couple of months I grew really close to one of the interns in my department. When he’s not busy he’ll take the time to ask about and listen to all my stories of studying abroad and happening things I get involved in during the summer break. He’s quite a shy one but when I’m around he makes lame jokes that cracks me up every time. The Friday before we break for the Aidilfitri holidays was his last day of internship but I wouldn’t be around and I told him so earlier that week.

When I stayed back on the Tuesday (as I was going out with mummy in KL that evening) as usual I was goofing around with the other interns and staffs and telling them about the new 3D edition of The Ring (Japanese version) was coming out soon and if anyone wants to watch or enjoys watching horror movies. After that I checked the time and asked how come he was not making his way home yet and this was his reply “Bukan I keluar sekali dengan your mum ke? I’ve got a ring in my pocket.” (Am I not going out with your mum as well? I’ve got a ring in my pocket).

5. #55Merdeka : Freedom of thoughts

If I wasn’t working 8 to 5 on weekdays I would have agreed to give 110% support to a friend who wanted to do a short film on Merdeka. I could either come up with a storyline or a script or do the co-producer job of getting  a writer or coming up with the idea. I had an idea that requires some research for it to be executed nicely, so we decided to cancel doing it now and develop this for  next year’s Hari Raya/Deepavali/Chinese New Year/Merdeka short films. Leo Burnett, watch out. Heh heh heh.

6. The Tudung Issue

So, during Raya I snapped a photo with my grandfather while wearing a headscarf as just minutes before we had a short prayer session. Thought it was a nice photo, uploaded onto the social networking profile page and made it display picture. Got a number of likes and then several people speculated that I’ve committed to wear the headscarf full time. Reverted back to my non-headscarf, regular-look display picture and released a little “press statement” clarifying that the picture was taken minutes after  a short prayer session which was why I had the headscarf on and I have no intention to put on the headscarf full time yet.

 

I probably should also do a write up on #KTMdiaries. An entry on the quirks of the passengers and the train services I go through Mondays to Fridays might be fun. I will miss KL, Seremban, and the KTM and LRT rides, the funky lifts in the Petronas Twin Towers, and all the good food when I leave for UK in a little less than 3 weeks.

Excess Baggage

Before I begin my story, I would like to thank everyone who stayed with me online, offline, and in prayers when I landed myself in a tight spot before my departure from London. Raising £170 in just about 2 hours would not have been possible without contributions from Ms Foo, Mei, Q, Ivan, Ms See, and Ting Ting. I have never felt so touched by responds to my status on Facebook.

Thank you all so much.

My room was still a mess when I called the taxi to transport my belongings and myself to the train station. Earlier I nicked the weighing scale from the bathroom to weigh my luggage. Initially I had only one box, one medium sized luggage, and a small luggage to hand carry onto the flight. The total weigh of the things intended for cargo was just under the 30kg baggage allowance.

As the taxi was called for I realised I still had quite a number of things to bring with me strewn across the room. Panic mode: ON. My train was due in half hour. I grabbed the more necessary items and stashed them into my backpack and spare bags. The rest I swept into a large bin bag to discard. I left behind two foldable umbrellas (I had a total of six umbrellas) and three huge sets of colourful post-it notes as public property on the table in our puny common space. I discarded the less competent free pens from careers fairs and events. I left behind many spoons, my pan, a saucer, a mug, a jug, a large towel, a small towel, and a list of small miscellaneous items.

When the taxi arrived I was bringing down my luggage, cleaning the room as much as I can, and somewhat still packing, all in succession. I was literally jogging with an average of 10kg weight lifting up and down the stairs 4 or 5 times.

I left my keys at a friend’s asking his favour to help me keep the Quran ( I COMPLETELY FORGOT ABOUT IT >.< ) and a bit of cleaning up. If you’re reading this, I’ll return the favour whenever I can, alright? Sorry for causing trouble!

I first made a trip to a friend’s house to deposit a borrowed coat and books before rushing to the train station.

I almost, almost gave up carrying my things at the train station until one of the staff members offered to help. I missed the train which I booked tickets for, so boarded the next one.

About ¾ of the journey to Reading I was hunching over my bags at the space between two carriages. Thank goodness the officer who checked my ticket did not notice or ignored that the ticket was only valid at the booked time. *Phew*.

I asked and was given a bin bag from the guy behind the counter at the food carriage and threw more pens, a notebook full of separation process notes (I know in which book to find the same information and in more detail), a towel, and a t-shirt. By this time I knew I would have to pay for the excess baggage because I didn’t know what else to throw out. I sent out my first S.O.S on Facebook to get someone to alert my mum of a quick message I posted on her wall (my current phone plan does not allow international dialling).

My mum handles all the financial arrangement for my tuition fees and expenditures while I’m studying in UK, naturally she is my first port of call. Adx called my mum and thank goodness she picked up after  several missed calls. Mummy explained that even if she is to put a standing order at the time (it was almost midnight where she is) the transaction would not go through until the next day. The remaining options were to borrow money, or put her over the line at the check-in counter and pay by credit card.

I thought I had overdraft. I knew I had overdraft, but just wasn’t sure how to use it. I tried calling the bank but it didn’t go through as I cannot remember my telebanking security number.

Oh boy.

I recalled reading the price list for extra baggage on the airline webpage so I approximated having to pay £150.

“Desperate mode : ON.

Peeps, I need to raise £150 in the next two hours. Will pay back in the next couple of days. Anyone willing to help please let me know I’ll PM the account details.”

N N. 12th June 2012, Facebook.

Within minutes I had five respondents requesting for my account details. At Reading I had to switch trains and was lucky to have a member of staff helping me out with my belongings as it was peak hour when people are making their way home from work. From Reading to Gatwick I was making calls and replying messages in one of the best fundraising effort to date. £170 in about two hours, I get paid 15x less per hour for my part-time job.

During a short break between influx of communication I thought that if charity bodies adopt a more entrepreneurial approach, that is to apply for start-up funds and make more money out of it people would be more willing to contribute as in a way it showed that the contribution was a worthwhile investment and the charity body is sustainable. I didn’t get to brew the idea longer as after that spark of thought I had to concentrate on the matter at hand.

Never in my life had I thanked God so many times in a day.

I thank God for the helpful station staffs that helped with my luggage.

I thank God for the people who had genuine concerns and I am ever so grateful to have them as friends.

I thank God for the couple who held the lift doors while I try to get all my things into and out of the lift.

I thank God for the security people at the doors for holding the gate as I doubled back to get all my things together.

May God bless you all.

At the check-in counter, the total weight of all my things was still over the overweight. After a short nagging by a senior-looking lady I repacked my things and threw up more t-shirts (the ones I had for free), a discounted dress from H&M, a Primark shirt, torn jeans, and pyjama pants that hung an inch above my ankles. Brought the total weight down to a fairly acceptable level and paid the £140 levy. I arrive at the departure gate 10 minutes before the closing time. The moment I stepped on board the plane I felt like I’ve completed a leg of Amazing Race – Mambang version.

Jalan-jalan, Makan-makan @ Dublin

Flew over to the capital of the Leprechauns to say hello to a bunch of med kids last weekend. Ended up spending almost half my time there slaving in the kitchen helping out with my friend’s housewarming party.

Rolling-rolling vegetable rolls. Made almost 40 of these. Used the mixed vegetables for stir-fry from Tesco, tossed with a little sesame oil and soy sauce before rolling them into thawed frozen spring roll wrappers (available in almost all oriental food stores). The rolls were then baked to crispy perfection. Stayed crisp longer than if they have been deep fried.

This is the messiest chocolate cake I have ever made. Borrowed friend’s spring-form cake pan only to find the batter leaking between the base and the sides. Poured the batter back into the mixing bowl. Wrapped the base with foil, hoping to seal the gap between the edges, batter still leaked. By this time, the sink, the counter top, even the wash machine had chocolate batter everywhere. Batter poured back into bowl. Fully wrapped the external area of the cake pan with foil and poured the batter back into the cake pan. When we placed the cake pan into the oven, we realised the oven wasn’t hot althought it has been turned on. So the oven had to be restarted
again and the batter in the cake pan had to wait a little while longer before being baked.

It took about two hours for the chocolate cake to be fully baked because the oven temperature was lower than the numbers you turned it into on the knob.  Meanwhile, I heated the double cream and poured over chocolate bits in a bowl. Let it cool and popped into the fridge to set before covering the cooled chocolate cake with it. It was just short of butter and a yolk to make a proper truffle, but I called it truffle anyway. Ganache is when you use the melted chocolate in double cream directly – it will result in a shiny, chocolatey coverage.

The lazy cheesecake. This was made to help my friend use up her half-hearted attempt to making black forest filling and another serving of glazed cherries. Crushed Tesco super-hard ginger cookies, melted butter added to it before pressed to the bottom of a cake tin to form the base. Layer the cherries on top of the base. Top off with lightly sweetened Mascarpone cheese. Chocolate curl decoration optional. That was to help finish off my friend’s left over chocolate curls as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Apart from all that cooking, I managed to cover pretty much all the bases in Dublin. We went pub-hopping from one full pub to another. Irish music sounds refreshing after all the pop music you hear everywhere else.

There was this guy on the streets, offering a 30 euro reward to anyone who manage to cycle in a straight line on his kooky bicycle. You pay 4 euros for three tries. The bicycle was set in such a way that the direction the tyre turns is opposite to the direction to you turn the handle bar. Being a little tipsy could be a factor, no-one else managed to cycle his bike for the period of time we stood watching. He made it look so easy!

Simply loved the graffiti.

I must have spent about 20 euros at Butler’s in two days. On my first visit to the chocolate store, I had their cookie hot chocolate – Butler’s hot chocolate with two Oreos in it, and a coconut macaroon. The second trip was while waiting for my return flight at the airport, I sat in the cafe sipping the hot chocolate (but minus the cookies) and tried their chocolate cake. The hot chocolate was as good as ever, but the cake was a disappointment. The top chocolate layer was too hard, and the cake layer was not chocolatey at all.

Crashed one of the second-year lectures before I left for the city centre and then the airport. I even took notes. Locomotor Biology – my first ever medicine course lecture. 😉

Loved the vibe of the city. There was even a rainbow on my last day there.

Avebury Stone Circles

To the uninitiated, Stonehenge is only directly accessible during the Summer and Winter Solstices when modern day druids, pagans and Wiccans will stay overnight to watch sunset and, or sunrise on the longest and the shortest day of the year. If you would like to skip the £7.20 entrance fee (unless you’re a member of the National Trust), touch the smaller version of the stones albeit the haphazardly arrangements but larger in number, visit the Avebury Stone Circles.

Modern day druids, pagans, Wiccans, spiritualists, New Age Tribe believes this place has a ‘different kind of energy’ compared to Stonehenge and in this picture I think they were trying to harness the energy to rid illness or impurities within the body/soul.

The flower petals were most probably placed by people who came for prayers or worship.

The place where the stones are, is also the grazing area for sheep. Hence there are a lot of. . .

The place was literally a poop-field.

Let it not detract you from the beauty of the place. Put me in a field of stones and I’ll start running around to touch every single one of them. I counted and touched forty-seven stones.

The day my friend and I visited the place was probably the last few days of summer because since then it had been gloomy and rainy.

 Getting here : We took the train to Swindon from Bath Spa, and took bus 49 from the bus station.