Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Dog Days by Jon Katz

Beautiful numbers you think? ya, its my birthday. ;)

I usually took a leave on my birthday to celebrate it (running away from the comfort of home and spent a few days outside). But, since last year, i didnt do that, and it felt quite right, i come to work today. i still fast on my birthday (or at least, abstaining from food for at least 12 hours), and that feel right too. dont ask me why i do this and that, its just a random things, no particular meanings. i feel good doing it.

so, how was it? surviving to hit 33? 

There's a lot of things i have yet to do. challenges that i should soldier on. mistakes that i should redeem. few regrets, that i don't really mind having. life has been really good. many more ups than the downs. 

I only have one wish for my birthday: For God to put me in the right place, and for me to faithfully serve Him, with all my being, heart, mind and soul. (yeah, i know i shouldn't tell people the wish. but, that's a too general wish, so, that doesn't count, i think). and yeah, i know it sounds poyo. i am poyo, just so you know.

Recently, i read a book by Jon Katz; Dog Days. i love the way he writes, he transported me to his Bedlam Farm, looking at his dogs, sheep, donkeys, farm hands, guests. maybe because i was raised in an agricultural community where talking to animals and trees are considered normal, i understand the level of intimacy he has with his farm. Some people are just not as articulate as Katz in sharing the relationship to others.

Intimacy is a bond. it always started with eagerness to know (passion), love and trust. 

i tried very hard to bond with a cute 2 year old with more success at each tries. she's eager to know me i knew, but she doesn't trust me yet. How can she trusts me? i cant even decipher her talk (which was, at the moment half-english, half-God). every time we started a conversation, she gets frustrated, i get frustrated, i always turned to her aunt Jane for clarification. and because Jane spent more time with the 2 yo, she got the privilege of intimacy with her.

This, makes me realize, the only way i can learn to listen to God is to spend more time with Him, building intimacy.

for that matter, the only way to know others is to spend time with them.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Buku Hitam #006 Aku Naik Saksi

December. imagine how time flies! and i have yet to update my book read list. believe me, i have a few successful and entertaining book read in between the gaping posts. 

the new post at work really consumed my time. but, i love the privileges that come with the package. so, i shouldnt complain much about the arrangement. hopefully, I'll get used to the time constraint next semester and dedicate more hours to this blog. This blog is important for me as a medium to preserve and store my reading progress. 

o! the regular posting on FB (once every 4 days on issue i think relevant to my friends and followers, most of them are my students/ex students) and my new addiction to Twitter also contribute to even lesser posts here on my blog. i should learn to prioritize then. 

so, i've been reading, as i stated earlier, a few books. but, for today's posting, it's my discovery of Buku Hitam Press books. i acquired their books through somebody on twitter, twitting to sale his #004, #005 and #006 books at RM50. i am on the first book picked at random #006 Aku Naik Saksi.

21 shorties. i'm on number 12. some of the shorties are very, very good. some not so. the 'not so' means i dont connect to the story, the language used felt fake, the storyline messy, and poor grasp of the importance of paragraphing. 

and i really do hate it when a publisher make an announcement on their introduction page, pointing to other more established publisher. i dont fancy DBP either, they seem to be in coma at the moment and refuse to get up from their hibernation. but, pointing fingers, no matter what, is still pointing fingers and i dont sit well with that. 

the real interesting points about this book (and i'll add some more after i'm done with all 3):
1. language is fresh
2. the young writers (as youngsters should be) are not shy, they writes taboo subjects
3. some of the storyline are really interesting, you'd hope its not a shorties. 

up to story number 12, kopi hitam pekat stick to my mind.

btw, the boy who sold me these three bukuhitam also gave me another book for additional RM10. i'd say that's the crappiest book i'd read so far this year.

Friday, November 8, 2013

been away for too long

He still spell my name LIYDIA

Bukit Tabur, a reminder to take time off and go, climb.

regular day. my everyday's sunset.

of faith. step by step.

Adam and Lisa (our eldest and youngest)

random pictures.
simple things.
assurance that; life has been really, really good to me.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Murud Series: 1.3 Nepenthe, drink up and let go

Earlier related posts:
 1.1 Get Ready, Lace Up Your Adidas Kampung - My lists of things to bring up to Mt. Murud
 1.2 Google up, the clouds of information are hanging low - useful links for information related to Mt. Murud

1 Raja Raja 19:11a ...."keluarlah dan berdiri di atas gunung itu di hadapan Tuhan".

1.3 Nepenthe, drink up and let go

One of the best thing in climbing up a tropical mount, for me, is the chance of seeing my favourite plant in the world, Nepenthes (kukuanga = in my mother's tongue) (layman term = pitcher plant) in their natural habitat. one of the highlights in ascending any tropical mountains.

i spent years studying pitcher plants. They fascinate me.

The scientific name for this amazing plant originated from old Greek word 'nepenthe', found in their myth to be a strong drug given by Helen to tired, broken sailors on the ship rowing home to Troy. Nepenthe means, to forget of sorrow and pain.

I was desperate for the potion when i replied (mid January) to a certain friend if i was interested in joining her to attend the prayer revival meeting in July at Mt. Murud. I knew i was spiritually drained. i was in pain and in bad need of God's nepenthe, not just to forget my sorrow and pain, but to cast it away, to let it go.

The climb up _what to expect? 
If you're lucky to start climbing at Lepoh Bunga and are moderately active with no major health issue, you'd be able to reach Gedung Haleluyah in 2 hours (or so said the cheeky guides). i did mine at approximately a little over 5 hours. 
from Lepoh Bunga its going uphill all the way until you reach Jambatan Sukacita.

Then,  from Jambatan Sukacita, (bersukacitalah for a while for the wooden plank walkway) its going to be the 'never ending' mud trail. However, from here on, i started to spot pitcher plants hanging near the trail clearings. So, no matter how i detest the mud trail, i got distracted and snapped at those beauties happily with my compact camera.

after the struggle with mud trail, we climbed a very steep 'cliff', (okey, i'm being dramatic here, but it sure look like a cliff), a little while later, (if you're still breathing and walking), the stunted trees will start to appear and before you know it, you reach the peak of Batu Linanit (2250 m a.s.l). take your time here. look around, take pictures, enjoy the pristine mountain air, have a picnic lunch (and a little tips here: if the locals offer you their food, take it. offer them yours too, if you have anything to offer). mingle with the other pilgrims here. 

because its still quite a long way to reach Gedung Haleluyah. From Batu Linanit, its going downhill (more curious pitcher plants, sadly, none that i never seen before. i spotted 7-9 species) N. lowii gosh! they're awfully elegant!

then, the gleam of hope, gleam from zinc roof, assurance of you're almost there. errr.. not yet, dont get too excited, in the sea of greens, your eyes can be manipulative. its a steep downhill to a small patch of God's chosen spot, the holy ground. enter in with reverence. be glad that you survive the coming in journey. 

Lepoh Bunga --(2-3 hrs)--Jambatan Sukacita--(2-3 hrs)--Batu Linanit--(1-2 hrs)-- Gedung Haleluyah

My heart leaped for joy when i first saw the settlement. I love wooden plank bridge and especially homesick because of the crisp mountain air. I am a highlander at heart. I was born and raised in Ranau, home of the highest mountain in South-East Asia. There's this familiar, comfortable feel about this place. It felt like coming home.

Bugger, what if you're very unlucky and have to start hiking from Ba kelalan? welcome to the true experience of jungle trekking friend. It'll be 3 days hike up (with no qualm i said yes, i'd trek from Ba Kelalan up to Gedung Haleluyah if there's no 4WD to take us up to Lepoh Bunga. sound like boasting? No, i know God will never test me more than i can handle. He sent us, the rugged driver)

Ba kelalan ---(1 day)--Pa Rebata--(1 day)--lepoh bunga--(1 day)--Gedung Haleluyah to Mt. Murud

The climb up_what to bring? 
in my backpack:
1. water (500ml)
2. 100 plus (1.5 L)
3. halls candy (2 tubes)
4. goodie bag from the cheery people of TMC
5. chocolate bar
6. milo and foccacia bread  (i didnt realize its in my bag)
7. dry clothes (to change to when i arrive) 
8. bandana
9. raincoat
10. small bag of first aid kit -gauze, ointment, plaster, some pills
11. lighter
12. umbrella
tips: line up the inside of your backpack with plastic to make it super waterproof

things i wish i brought along.
1. anything salty (peanuts!)
2. pen-knife
3. sarong

Did i manage to take a sip of that nepenthe? i realized that, when you're not too focus on yourself, when you start to reach out and try to help others, our own pain subsides. I climbed up with an old woman, Ibu Bulan. I felt her physical pain climbing up, her weak knees, pain on her hip. But, as weak as she was, i drew strength from her. She pleaded God for strength all the way up. She cried when we reached Batu Linanit. She said "Tuhanlah kekuatanku" . That word is the nepenthe i've been seeking.

next: 1.4 cutie pie, i know its hard, but..

Monday, August 5, 2013

Murud Series: 1.2 Google Up, the Clouds of Information are Hanging Low

Earlier related post: 
1.1 Get Ready, Lace Up Your Adidas Kampung - My lists of things to bring up to Mt. Murud

1 Raja Raja 19:11a ...."keluarlah dan berdiri di atas gunung itu di hadapan Tuhan"..

1.2   Google Up, the Clouds of Information are Hanging Low

Ya, maybe i should have put this one as the first post for my Murud series.  

But, after reading my first post, aren't you more curious to know what's the hype is this Murud thingy? 

Here are some of (hopefully) helpful links for information about Murud.

A neat website with good info. I'm not sure whose maintaining/administering the site. I called all 4 numbers on their contact list, all numbers are active. The first two picked the phone and a good sports at random people (me) calling them up confirming they're still reachable or not. The last two didn't pick my call. 

Abandoned blogspot. The last post was dated Feb 19th, 2012, pointing to their new website. its a good site to read up past revival meetings. 

Abandoned blogspot. The post was dated March, 27th 2011. If you're interested in knowing culture and people (Lun Bawang) safeguarding Mt. Murud, this is a good place to start. 

Active Blogger (Lun Bawang Lady living in KL, or that's what the blogger's profile revealed). Latest Post was dated March, 08th 2013. This is a wonderfully written blog in a first person's perspective of being a Christian, Lun Bawang and things entail. Reading her posts will give you a glimpse of understanding of this close-knitted tribe.  

Active blogger (Lun Bawang lady living in Kuching). Happen to be a dear friend of mine. :)

There's a lot of blogs/ Youtube posts regarding pelayanan doa gunung murud. Take your time and surf on. Get as much information as needed and pray for God's guidance in deciding to go or not to go. Your ability to discern God's calling will hugely impact the whole experience. 

okey, next question:
How to reach Ba Kelalan? (base point to climb up Mt. Murud) 

2 options : By air or By land

By air
Arrive at Ba Kelalan airport. MAS Wings rural service is the only option here. (Read of my resentment with their poor service here). click on the the link above to check on their available flights. if you're flying in from outside Borneo, pick any city in Sarawak (or Kota Kinabalu in Sabah) as a transit point.

By land (4WD)
few options:
1. Miri -----Ba Kelalan
2. Lawas ----- Ba Kelalan
3. Kota Kinabalu ---- Lawas ---- Ba Kelalan
the options are based on your transit points. 
Example of my route (coming in) Kuching ---(flight)--- Miri---(flight)--Ba Kelalan. (Going out) Ba Kelalan---(4WD)---Lawas---(flight)---Miri---(flight)---Kuching

I dont recommend travelling by land. the road is a logging road, in dry season, it'll be dusty (if you're lucky like me and sat inside the double cab, it's bearable, but, if you sat at the rear part of the truck it'll be another tale to tell) and in wet season, it'll be too muddy.

okey, last question for this chapter.
How to arrange for accommodation and food? 

Pre arrange with the locals, befriend a Lun Bawang. Chances are, they might be related to someone in Ba Kelalan. *wink, wink* Diana arranged everything for us.

We, now have a house (family) in Ba Kelalan. One, according to Ukab, needs no jemputan to come. I half-jokingly texted him.
            me: ok. sy dtg rumah korang p makan after 5 pm
         ukab: datang saja la. x pyh tny dtg sja.  
I might take on that offer. ini orang pantang dijemput. 

But, how about you, unlucky lone ranger? Do contact them at this website. The Lun Bawang are very hospitable people. They will arrange things for you, once you confirmed of coming. (they don't even have the word equivalent to 'thank you', indicating abounding generosity, words are not necessary for its mutually understood). A concept that doesn't make sense to us, who used to get spanked by our mom for not saying 'pounsikou' when receiving/given something. 

next.. 1.3 Nepenthe, drink up and let go

Murud series: 1.1 Get Ready, Lace up Your Adidas Kampung

adidas kampung. pic from

My Murud story will come in 3 installments. This would be the pre-Murud sort of thing, things you need to prepare for the hike, basic information and general info of going and lots of my ramblings, hiking up.

The second would be more on the personal lesson learnt (spiritually). Or if we can use the word, personal divine encountering here (ya, it sounds too boogey) ;)

The last post would be the story of my experience in Ba Kelalan and Lawas (i have this idea of writing up about those white birds dancing in the distance, or, well maybe, i'll ended up writing about buffaloes or a little bit of all those mentioned). ya, i have no idea what to write. but, basically, that's the rough ideas.

I've just drafted the main points for introductory post, i'll type it out tomorrow. Need to sleep on the contents. Posting this up, so i have the motivation to get it done.

Edit: Decided to write a shorter, numerous posts. I hate long post and I want each post to glory in its own elements. 

1 Raja Raja 19:11a ...."keluarlah dan berdiri di atas gunung itu di hadapan Tuhan"...

1.1 Get Ready, Lace Up Your Adidas Kampung

Lydia's List of Essentials for Murud Trip
1. Adidas kampung
tips: get a size larger than your usual shoes, make sure you get the spiked one. because everybody with good sense will use this sturdy rubber shoes, up there, there'll be hundreds of look alike pairs. Put your personal 'sign' on your shoes to avoid mistaken identity.
2. Torch light
tips: get a headlamp, its light and easy to carry.

3. flip flop/ selipar jepun
tips: get the flashiest, one of a kind type of flip flop. make sure its sturdy, lightweight and waterproof. 

4. warm clothes
tips: jacket/ sweater/ thermal clothes. the temperature up there vary from 8-18C.

5. sleeping bag
tips: get a good one appropriating the temperature. you will sleep better with a good sleeping bag.

6. sarong 
tips: bring two. one for bathing. the other for changing into dry clothes after bathing (if, indeed you're brave enough to bath!) and other purposes. 

7. cash. ya, you never know what you can do with your cash up there.

Not Essential but Very Good To Have for Murud Trip
1. Mat. i brought my underused yoga  mat and it was really useful as a mat to sit on in the church and as a sleeping mat put under my sleeping bag.
2. snow cap. i brought my hand-crochet beanie and it helped me to sleep soundly at night
3. scarf. i didnt bring scarf and i was envious of them who have the sense to bring along a scarf
4. camera. or travel with shutterbugs.
5. note book. i leave mine at Ba Kelalan and its a bad decision.
6. socks. bring lots of it. i brought 6 pairs!
7. wet tissue. super useful for personal hygiene.  
8. hot water flask. i brought my KFC tumbler and i am glad i hoisted it up the mount.  

If you have a safe place to leave some of your belongings at Ba Kelalan. Do leave your handphone or other electronic gadgets there. No cell reception up the mount. and you don't need too much distractions from outside world when you set an appointment with God. right? 

next.... 1.2 Google up, the clouds of information are hanging low. 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Midnight Club by James Patterson

pic from
I was at my foster family's house last night, having dinner (iftar) and stayed there until 10 pm. I stayed until late, because i felt sorry for not being with them for Raya. While chatting, the TV was airing TV3 Buletin Utama* (absolutely not my main worthy to mention newsfeed) (the TV at home  conked out since earlier this year, and i'm too broke to afford a new one).

The main story on BU TV3 was the Beverly Hills (KK) shooting.

What is happening in our country nowadays? is this a new emergence of organised and violent crime in Malaysia?. Read the typical, the Malaysian Insider's cover story here. Read, what Idris Jala has to say on this matter here, and this very interesting commentary on how's all these crazy happenings affecting our country, financially speaking.

So, the fiction i read in The Midnight Club might be realer than i thought it could be. Forget New York city, even small, (highly infested by illegal aliens) city like KK also can be featured as the new range, killing field, execution style street-shooting.

I just hope, the head of our country's men in blue heeds the article written by Mr. Benjamin here. Sorely, we need a dedicated men in the force (maybe, akin to Stefanovitch and Parker in my book read, minus the street law enforcement, of course). As of now, our men are too preoccupied doing other things, enforcing laughable matters. 

satirical: and its sad. pic from

This week, we will celebrate Hari Raya Aidilfitri. Let us celebrate the festive season as Malaysians,  focusing on our common ground, drawing strength from shared values and traditions. We are (despite all those hocus pocus) still a peace loving nation. Selamat Hari Raya, Happy Holiday.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Pecah oleh Khairulnizam Bakeri

I was on a reading frenzy. Back from Murud, i'd done reading Bourdain (Medium Raw), Albom (For One More Day), Roden (Middle Eastern Feast) and Petterson (Kiss The Girl). I read when i want to still my mind, i read when my mind's too busy wandering. That's the only way to tame it. Other than of course, to black-out and go to sleep, which i also did a lot post Murud. More than 8 hours a day. Ya, you caught me there, i cat-napped in the office, even half-waking in a meeting. I know, i'm being bad. 

Murud was a beautiful experience. But, i was poorly equipped to fight the fatigue and overwhelmingness after it. Like everything worth thinking over in life, i need time to digest it all. and because i'm a very personal person, this could take months to mull over. Some may say that's characteristic of a self-centric person. Ya, i admit, in my own way, i am a very self-centric person

So, the Murud post needs to wait, i need to calm my mind to write a decent post. Maybe i'm also a bit scared to write of experience that sacred. A personal encountering with divine Holiness. or maybe at the moment, i'm just being me, self centric, wanting to savour all those experiences by myself. For me. 

The macho mom has hers laid out here: Murud #1, #2, #3, #4, finale

Pecah by Khairulnizam Bakeri. Pic from
Instead, today's post is on the second book i got from Lejen Press, purchased together with the first book i made a post here (Kelabu by Nadia Khan). I got the hardcover limited edition, good binding with the type of paper i like for RM30.

If you haven't read any of Fixi book yet, give yourself a favour by reading this book, first. I was hooked from the first page to the end and i read the whole book in one sitting. The storyline was fast-paced, minimal unnecessary details, interesting dialogues (he frequently used the character's mother tongue), (and i never believe i could enjoy the repeatedly to and fro in the timelines) but, he did it so effortlessly, that i stayed along and read on with conviction. (i had a very hard time reading the time traveller's wife, with all those to and fro goings).

The book started with a bank robbery, then to an elderly centre with a very curious old man getting a bad heart attack, then to Hospital where the bank robber(s) somehow connect with one of the nurse, then to the past at a night club, then to a gentleman lawyer with a problem with his wife then on and on, the stories unfold. This, in short is a very believable story. My first rule for a good fiction is that it must be believable or soooo unbelievable its magical.

Never mind the repeated coincidences. I'm a huge believer in 'Everything happen for a reason' and we met people for a reason too, no matter how brief. So, screw the voice at the back of my mind that scream 'bloody many coincidences, too much to be true!'.

The man. Khairulnizam Bakeri. Pic from
I sent a friend request on FB to the author and he accepted within the day. Khairulnizam Bakeri. He's good. really good author. my hope soar again for good malay fiction and keeping my eyes for this guy's next book. I'm rating Pecah at 8.5/10.

Monday, July 29, 2013

A Middle Eastern Feast

 *This is a story of preserved lemons. :)
A Middle Eastern Feast by Claudia Roden
Oh! i hope i'm more insightful, more political when i write the title for this blogpost. I could write about the Arab's Spring, or certainly i can link up to a Youtube video of that little boy who eloquently explaining why Morsi isn't what the Arab world needs as opposed to many Malaysian muslim led to believe (or at least, my muslim friends on FB who posted pro-Morsi posts on their wall). Hair-raising scary what people blindly believe nowadays.

But no, when i reached for this book, and planned to write a blog post out of it, it's for one cause: because i have a basketful of lemons from Long Beluyu, Lawas to preserve. I need a better than my 'tongue' (palate) to do it. I'd preserved lemons before (and i love preserved lemons), but never to give away, so, i thought, i better do a bit of research before doing this up, as i promised Diana a jar of the preserve. (i got the lemons from her uncle's yard)

My favourite online cook, Mr. Marketman and this guy David Lebovitz refered (linked) by Mr. Marketman got their versions of preserving lemons. I've tried Mr. Marketman's and it was good as an accompaniment to raw vaggie/fish (eaten as dipping/sambal). 

so, here, i'm done reading Claudia Roden's A Middle Eastern Feast, for preserve lemon recipe. This is a small treasure book in the Penguin's Great Food series. i ended up googling up for exotic herbs and spices, because really, i come short in this area. caraway? mahlab? chervil?. Her beautifully written recipe book is not an ordinary recipe book, it goes deeper, she wrote about the culture behind each recipe, of how intermingling in the middle eastern countries brought all those delicious fusion and traditional dishes. history preserved in food.

'X' incision. see the thin skin?
Back to my lemons. The lemons i got, are not the best to preserve. the skin is too thin. the usual preserved lemon call for a thicker, hardier lemon skin, like Meyer Lemon. But, i don't get upset by this fact, because, i usually ended up using the flesh and even the brine of my lemon preserved. they make a good bitter-salty lemonade drink/soup. So, all's well with me. (for a Schweppes bitter lemon soda addict, bitter preserved lemon is a healthier option!)

For this batch, i follow Claudia's instruction on Page 6-7 for the citrons confits (lemon preserved in salt) with a twist of 1. bay leaves + fresh small chillies, 2. cinnamon sticks + cloves.

bay leaves + chillies
cinnamon stick + cloves
Basically: 1 lemon + 1tbs coarse salt + juice from 1 lemon (make an X incision, stuffed salt in between, squeeze in the jar, leave for one night, squeeze the juice, add juice from another lemon to cover). You may add any other spices to flavour the preserve.

Leave the jars in room temperature for 4-5 days, then put in the fridge for up to many months. its OK to leave it in room temp, but some people get off with the whitish stuff on the surface. its mould and pretty harmless. The preserve is ready for use after 10 days. i usually only use the lemons after a month fermenting. and it gets better as it grow older.

aww.. i hope, it's not just the preserved lemons, which gets better as it old. i hope, we too, get mellower, and better as we age.

Friday, July 26, 2013

For One More Day by Mitch Albom

For One More Day

Psalms 84:10
 Better is one day in Your courts than a thousand elsewhere.

Some days are certainly better than others.

The few short days i spent in Ba Kelalan were those better days. Days i would like very much to stretch out and go on, and on and on forever.

I like the place, in love with the people and are drawn to their culture.

So, ya, i think i know the meaning of hoping for one more day. because at the moment, i'm longing for just one more day to be there. (by the way, i am planning to visit the place again in october/ december this year. so, this is an official shout out to all my close friends to join in the fun. its apple harvesting season in Oct and probably rice harvest in dec).

In Mitch Albom's word: have you ever lost someone you love and wanted one more conversation, one more chance to make up for the lost time when you thought they would be here forever? if so, then you know you can go your whole life collecting days and none will outweigh the one you wish you had back.

I hope i'd never had the need for another day, for the reason that i didn't spend my time with my loved ones wisely. I hope i'd love people enough and get loved back enough. Because, whats the point of living, otherwise?

I am a skeptical person by nature. i don't believe in things easily. Sometimes i tolerated things (mostly because i inherited my ancestor's penchant for not rejecting ideas, no matter how impossible it might sound), but, it doesn't mean i believe in it. Example: the story in this book, meeting up a dead person. i'd nonchalantly say, ya it could happen. but do i believe it could happen? no, not really.

me, Alie, Uncle#1, Bee Lian, Lui Lin

me, Alie, Uncle#2, Dy

I tried to be not too skeptical, too logical, because as i found recently, there are many things in this life happened supernaturally. beyond the logic of our mind. If that's what some people say miracle, maybe that's what we need faith for. Example: what is the odds of meeting up a friend's handsome uncles in the remote area of Ba Kelalan?. One of them is single (not so sure of the availability). 

For one more day, i sincerely hope i'll have one more day to spend in this remote place with these lovely people.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Medium Raw by Anthony Bourdain

I feel, the handsomest and dandiest chef is Anthony Bourdain. He certainly writes better than he speaks. and i am in love with his style of writing. bold, to the point, raw.

in this book he chronicles his journey as a chef and his opinions of his world. and his is a very interesting, entertaining world. but, its a world for the tough, like him. most people will withered under the same duress.

Diana, Ukab, Allison, Me, Gwen - Gedung Haleluya, Mt. Murud

i went up Mt. Murud last week. it was a wonderful experience, which i will write in a post of its own later. as for this post, refer to the pic above. that yummy looking boy is a cook with a culinary certificate. There's something really interesting with guys who cook good food. 

the name is Ukab, a traditional Lun Bawang name. he cooked for us the day we went down Mt Murud. His uncle, (another very good looking guy) also is a very good cook. as we meet more of the Lun Bawang family, i found out, many of the guys (if not all) cook real well. and on top of being good cook, they're also very good looking.

Bourdain may won my heart with his writing. But, i'll wage my life to live with one of these guys from this tribe, not for the food they prepare (though, thats a winning point too), but, because of their hearts for God. in this tough world, we need a guided bold men to lead us on.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Kelabu oleh Nadia Khan

pic by    

I bought two fixi novels at Lejen press booth at 1B in KK when i was there 2 weeks ago. i stumbled upon it, prompted by a tweet from @KKCity. The only man waited the booth has no idea when i asked what book would he recommend to me to read. at least, ask what genre i usually read. tergagap-gagap, what?!you never waited a book counter before? adoiii...

Kelabu by Nadia Khan and Pecah by Khairulnizam Bakeri.

both were really good. i'd give 6/10 for kelabu and 8.5/10 for Pecah.

I admire fixi for featuring 'different' kind of Malay books to the public. [something our neigbouring country has been doing since early 80's (i grew up reading Indonesian novels)] but, i don't appreciate name calling. Printing on the first few page of your book, something like 'kalau nak yang proper (ie: bahasa asing di italik) cari buku DBP' is not cool. Readers know the difference without you pointing out. That's why we seek you. Don't try too hard at being 'different'.

Kebetulan, sebelum balik ke KK saya sedang membaca 'in one person' oleh John Irving. selepas membaca kelabu (diselangi tontonan siri GoT musim ke 3), persamaan tema dalam kedua-dua buku ini agak jelas. kekeliruan seks dan yag lebih menarik, kedua-dua watak utama dalam cerita-cerita ini pernah tinggal beberapa tahun di Jerman. 

Bezanya, naratif dan keyakinan pembaca terhadap tema dalam buku Irving lebih dalam dan terolah rapi secara relatif terhadap kelabu.

Kelemahan utama kelabu adalah pada bahagian meyakinkan pembaca terhadap kesungguhan watak utama terhadap kekeliruan seksnya. selain itu, jalan cerita yang mudah diramal, klise cerita melayu yang latarbelakangnya kaya-raya, tipikal cerita anak-anak datuk. Kalau tujuannya memilih watak utama pada golongan ini adalah tujahan sarkastik secara lembut, itu cubaan yang agak menarik.

Mungkin penulis menulis novel ini untuk pembaca yang naif dan tipikal malaysia yang lemah lembut. Tidak ada adegan panas atau walaupun sekadar ciuman dalam novel kekeliruan seks? whew! dalam perbualan peribadi dengan seorang budak sekolah menengah di kawasan kampung yeng mengaku pengkid, beliau mengakui pernah beringan-ringan dengan pasangannya. Watak dalam novel kelabu ini sungguh jauh ketinggalan dalam eksperimentasi. Kewajaran penceritaannya dari segi psikologi menjadi kurang. Tidak perlu kekeliruan seks jika tidak berminat terhadap seks.

Oh! mungkin kerana cerita ini lebih kepada hati dan perasaan. Keinginan yang lebih dalam dan bukan sekadar fizikal. Kekeliruan itu kan di dalam jiwa? ya, mungkin, di Malaysia itu cukup ;)

when i asked my younger sister (20 yo) whose on her semester break if she'd read the book. she said "macam drama melayu gia tu. baru 5 minit saya baca, saya nokodop sudah" (its like a malay drama. i fell asleep after 5 minutes read). She's studying Japanese and very much into K-Pop culture.

However, i must say, its a brave effort to tackle taboo issue like this and formatted it in a light, easy to digest albeit a bit too hypocrite novel. Reviews from the readers proved to be really positive. Salina by A.Samad Said keep on appearing in my mind. can we have an honest, heart tugging malay novel like that anytime soon? please? [DBP clearly not in the productive mood these past few years]

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Happy Birthday Linda!

she did it! she ran half marathon
Happy Birthday Pong!

Semoga rekod larian kita di BIM akan menjadi lebih baik dari yang di Brooks.

sometimes ago when we were in the uni, someone told me that we talked like we were best friend. at first, it confused me. aint that what sisters should be? bestfriend?. then, came along Downton Abbey and no, in many cases, sisters are just fated siblings, stuck together because of blood relations. so, i'll consider myself very lucky for having you as my younger sister, a sibling i'm proud to call my bestfriend, loyal to the end. 

Sometimes later (hopefully) when we were old and surrounded by our grandchildren, we'll come back to this point of life. remembering all the good things, amazing experiences we've been through together. it'll be quite a story. but, until then, let us live, a day at a time, savouring life. 

Wishing you all the good things in the world and most of all for happiness. Happy Birthday!

Monday, July 8, 2013

half year update

Thats a long hiatus. been reading some good books. will update the book read section. there's 4-5 more books to add to the list. somehow, i cant recall the whole title/author of those books. i'll sort that out later (pretty much sorted on August 2nd, 2013 - see the book read list)

ok, my last post was in march. what have i done the whole time? apart from book reading 9-10 books, i started to read scientific journals (aching my head), planning to write up a research proposal before September. i better get back to those journals if i am to write that darn proposal. ;)

Bus ride
railway station
i went to Bangkok last March with my good pal. we had fun (i guess). i passed the bars and beer fountain and those lovely guys (now, i'm regretting it). instead, i dragged my pal to the national museum, siam discovery centre, many temples, railway station, cinemas and universities like a proper nerd. we also tried the local food (street foods) the whole 7 days we were there. the pal a bit queasy about it. but thank God we turned out fine. i think he's smitten by their banana fritters. we'll be back to Bangkok for sure. 

Mak Phet
while we were in Bangkok, we went by train to Vientiane. spent 3 days there. the journey by train was amazing. definitely will travel by Thai train again. as for Vientiane, nothing much there. but then again, i was there on the hottest month of the year with no proper plan (the initial plan was to go to Chiang Mai- north of Bangkok). we ended up holing down in their (few) air-cond cafe wolfing beautiful and delish pastries. (pondan mengorat my pal, and i did my best to chase the pondan way)
he better remember that deed.
Israel Houghton and New Breed Concert, KL, 2013

April, i went for a rocking concert in KL: Israel Houghton and New Breed. it was awesome.

joke of the year: the mystery of election's ink = food colouring. hahha!
@ Fread's
May in Ranau for General election and makan berabis with the kaibigans.

i ran half marathon last month (june). i'm not proud of the performance, i crawled the last 7 km. but, i did it. i reached the finish line and im going to do it again next month (august) for BIM. and i got the key for my studio apartment. yay!

i also managed to convince Dy, Max and Khairi to be in my next charity project. and that dream keep me sane, keep me going, fuel me up. 

its half year gone by. it has been amazing. not all rosy of course, the man dumped me. but, lets not dwell on that. he is his own person, and have his own reasons. i cant change that and i wont, given the chance. 

p/s: will furnish with pics when the internet line get better (oooo... when?)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Reckless Driver

I was in Kota Kinabalu last week, just in time to celebrate our brother, Atan's birthday. He's 28! (one of these days, i'll post his picture with his bestie on their first day of school (form 1)). He's always been a wonderful brother. when we were kids, he's incapable of telling lies. always the one pointed out our faults (and confessed his own) in our weekly family prayer night. one fault, one spank (yes, our dad spanked us girls too). 

As we grew older, the raw honesty (naivety) corroded. we live telling half truth. Often times, we did that to protect our loved ones from the biting, harsh reality. But, some people are just too used to telling lies (and there's a difference in concealing truth and telling lies). Maybe because its so rare, we seek honesty foremost in any relationship we try to forge. Recently, i got out of a relationship because i cant stand the lies. I loved the man alright. Just don't want to be in a fake relationship.

when i read this book its bursting with honesty (i got this book from my sister, popong who bought it at the Big Bad Wolf Sale, earlier this month. i leave my box of books i got at the sale at Jane's). you have to lived a hard childhood or live near enough to it to understand what i mean with this honesty. i had a relatively good childhood, despite all the hardships. But, i also lived in one of the poorest district in the poorest state in the country, where the pepatah: kais pagi, makan pagi, kais petang, makan patang is the adage, to have the privilege of experiencing poverty first hand.  

growing up, some nights, we woke up to a loud bang at the neigbour's  house. Their father came home, drunk and beat up their mom to pulp. and the same mom had to labour 3 days to get RM15 to bring her sickly child to hospital while the useless dad wasted away his wages on drinks. i am thankful, my dad cant do alcohol and never beat us up. me despising drunkard is an understatement.

Lisa Vice, your debut novel is a fascinating read. Lana was a trooper. but, no, God is not like a reckless driver. we are the reckless driver, never paying attention to whats important until it's too late.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Ampun Tuanku

its been a while. i was abducted by the Kiram and they forced me to be their tukang cuci jamban (sorry, i had to write that down, i cant help myself.) if you're a Malaysian and have no idea of what i'm talking about, go shoot yourself. To the rest of the world; King Kiram of Sulu Sultanate send about 200 army to occupy Sabah (North Borneo) via Lahad Datu, sometime in mid February. for 21 days the Malaysian Government tried to negotiate with the invading foreign army (much to our frustration-you don't negotiate with terrorist!). 

if the world would blame us for killing the invading army to protect our homeland, know that, we waited 21 days before gunning down the terrorist. and because i'm a Malaysian, i'll side with my country's version of the story. for more perspectives; read The Manila Times, Khabar southeastasia,
washingtonpost, Bloomberg or try googling it up.

when Sabahans decided to join (by Cobbold Commision) in forming a sovereign country of Malaysia in 1963, we decided to become Malaysian. we made the decision in 1963 and we're standing by it. 

Done reading Ampun Tuanku by Zaid Ibrahim. Need sometime to digest it (its an easy read, with repeated emphasize on certain important matters). All this stories about monarchy and its relevance to the modern administration/politics make me sick. ya, i need to go to jamban. 

Monday, February 25, 2013

February's Catch

The first two on February's stack are from Popular Bookstore (my choice for books shopping because of it's permanent 10% discount and occasional 20-30% discount for member~despite the lack of varieties, the bookstore is the most reliable in terms of value for money). The rest are from MPH, Spring, Kuching (if i can help it, i'd rather buy my books from any other MPH store than here). there's something really alarming buying books from people who clearly don't read much.

my favourite bookstore is still Kinokuniya at KLCC and in Borneo, it'd be Times Bookstore at Suria (the only reason i step in Suria KK). lets just say, i was impressed with their sales people. 

what do i expect from sales people in a bookstore?
1. when i ask question, they listen attentively.
2. if they don't get the title/ name of the author i requested, they give me paper and pen to write it on/ they ask me to spell it out.
3. if the said book is not available in their store, they tell/suggest me where can i get it.
4. in their free time, they're busy reading.

the catch:
1. The Magician King by Lev Grossman (Arrow books, 2012) (RM 31.90)
    because: if you have read The Magician you'll understand the meaning of 'under the spell'
2. Ampun Tuanku by Zaid Ibrahim (ZI Publications, 2012) (RM49.90)
    because: upcoming PRU13, its exciting to know what this person has to say. bah! seriously, being a Sabahan with limited knowledge of how the monarch works and fit in the current political situation made me bought this.

3. Born To run by Christopher McDougall (Vintage books, 2009) (RM49.90)
    because: i'm starting to run long distance this year.

4. Running Made Easy by Susie Whalley and Lisa Jackson (Collins and Brown, 2008) (RM24.90)

5. Running a Marathon for Dummies by Jason R. Karp (John Wiley & Sons, 2013) (RM59.80)

i'm running my first 10K this Sunday (03/03/2013) Brooks Half Marathon. without proper training and stamina. wish me luck.

Have a good week people!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Crocodylus porosus v Buaya darat

croc in captivity, Sandakan
i finished reading this very informative and interesting book about saltwater crocodiles in Borneo yesterday. its a slim volume, but, because of time constrains, i spent almost 4 days to finish reading it. and i am glad i picked this book and read on. 

i spent a lot of time poring over Borneo Publications books on Flora and also Soil or even general biodiversity of Borneo for my research. but, their animal related books were out of my sight. the publication house published many interesting volumes on natural history of Borneo. and most (if not all) are of scientific nature/ academic background (that tend to be dull and monotonous). 

rest assured, this book by Ritchie and Jong is one of the exception from the above para. written in a narrative, everyday words (with lots of typo~mr editor: i listed down the typo and i caught more than 10), the read is exciting and very informative. i never took any interest in knowing about the term "Bujang Senang" before, but, i do now. the story of man-eating crocs is insanely interesting. my colleagues are enduring my insistent sharing over breakfast. poor them.

i realized i was a little over the top with my sharing after i shared it with the senior class in my last class with them before they went for their CNY holidays. some of the boys at the back noisily commented, apa kaitan croc ya dengan topik miss?. brazen, i said, oi.. buaya.. the class suddenly came alive with catcalls and teasing. nah.. kawu, buaya darat..poor boy. i teach them health system research, and i was trying to convince them that reading a new material, not necessarily connected with our main field can be a surprising new facts, new knowledge to us.

oh! i found the publication house website featuring this book. go there for the book's brief. and their other books too.

and no, i wont tempt myself to write about buaya darat. after reading this book, the term is a little awkward for me to use . according to the definition given by this website: buaya darat = lelaki yang selalu memperdaya perempuan. i think, crocs made it very clear to us of their intention, we court the risk when we invade their territory. maybe there's the similarity hits, buaya darat's intention usually can be seen, but, we dare  to court risk, courting.

i will update this post with pictures and more ramblings. DONE!

until then, have a good weekend people!
Happy Chinese New Year to those who celebrate and Happy Holidays to all.

p/s i had a very sumptuous and delicious CNY dinner over at Dy's aunty. thanks aunty Julia! and booo to  PSY performance in Penang (or, boo to that certain political party). now, that's a laughingstock.  

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Swimming Home

pic by
By nightfall of Friday (feb, 1st), i'd done reading this book. i struggled reading it. i dont like all the characters. Especially Kitty and Mitchell. and the theme: the power of the unspoken, hits home, bulls eye.

During the weekend i reread the book because i cant resist it. reading this book was a whole new experience in reading for me. Remember those mystery/thriller books in our primary school library, the one requires us to choose the next action to do (eg: turn to pg 7 if you want to proceed or go to pg 12 if you want to back off). i love those books! it gives you a sense of being one with the book, a sense any reader should experience with a good book. Deborah Levy gave me that experience in Swimming Home.

The story: a famous poet with his equally famous journalist wife went for a holiday in southern France together with their 14 years old daughter, Nina and their life long friends Laura and her fat husband, Mitchell. Then enter Kitty Finch, a skinny, gorgeous red-head swimming naked in the swimming pool of their villa. somehow, Kitty was invited to stay with them. the next seven days with Kitty is the story in this book. nothing really peculiar in the storyline. But, why did Isabel (the poet's wife) invited Kitty(a stranger) to stay (knowing her husband has weakness with young woman)?. who is Kitty Finch?

if you ever experienced looking at a painting/ photograph/ any art objects and connect (feel a story behind that object), this read is almost similar to that. its like reading a series of painting, interconnected but, fiercely individual. maybe it's just me. maybe my present situation heighten the feel of the theme given.

The power of the unspoken. this theme holds strong throughout the book and i like the grasp, the repetition, the consistency. because, its real. most of us like the guessing games. we assume. we shy away from asking/ telling the truth. instead of facing reality, we make a circle of imaginative comfort around us.

motivated by this book, i point blankly asked a person a very sensitive question (I've been longing to know for weeks) and got a point blank answer. ya, that's why we keep most of the questions to ourselves. we're scared of the answer. the power of the unknown keep most of us afloat. but, if we're honest, barely floating wont help us to swim home.

and going home is a tough business when we don't know where home is. sometimes ago, i found a shelter for me, a place my heart calls to. a place I'm keen to call home. 

i wish all of us, have a home. a place where we swim to, run to, live in. a place we long to be. a place to belong. all else will matter less. 

have a good week people!

p/s: as we search for a place to belong in this world, let us not forget where we truly belong. keep our eyes up to heaven and the promise to be reunited with our father. Keep on rejoicing: Mercy me ~ I can only Imagine

Homeland ridiculous story: 3 mil for PSY performance. He is a joke. no matter how successful he seems to be.  
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...