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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Noir means black

I only posted a few posts this year. The year i promised i'd make a proper list of my reading materials and progress and something else on the side too. Duh!

Anyway, not to cry over spilt milk, but i regret the shortcoming very much.

I was in Bangkok last month with 3 of my good friends. I'd been in Bangkok before. I don't get any particular attraction with the city. I like the food and market. Booze was cheap and entertainments plenty. 

When my friend flew out, heading for KL, I flew to Hat Yai. My main aim for this journey is to experience KTM's train shuttle from Hat Yai to Kuala Lumpur. 

Hat Yai is a bustling border city. The food are mostly Chinese-Thai. Not as fiery as those in Bangkok. many Malaysians do business here too. I shared the van ride from the airport to the city centre (journey time about 25 mins) with two friendly Singaporean men (they're on business trip) and some other local Thais. They told me that Hat Yai is the 'in' thing to do development investment in SEA. What do i know about investment? meh!

I scoured the city centre on foot until i cant walk anymore. I called out for tuk tuk and paid only 30B for him to take me to the nearest shopping mall. he asked for 50B. I said, i have no money 30B or i'll just walk. he sent me to a large mall (i cant even remember the name). I rushed inside for the aircond. I found the bookstore here.

When i asked the cashier if they sell any english book, the girl looked confused. I'd walk and look around the bookstore, books are in Siam. Even the Japanese mangas are in Siam. Maybe because i look like a Burmese (which i believe, the Thais regard as dirt-rag) who happened to speak English, so, the cashier didn't expect me to asked her the question. After she regained her composure (about 5 mins later) she hand signaled me to a small rack near the stationery section. Tada!

Interestingly, more than half of the books on display are English book about Asia. I took; Phnom Penh Noir, a book about cultural detective and Haddon's The Red House (so, now, i have a complete Haddon books!). The best part? they provide book wrapping service for free. yay!

I read The Red House immediately that night, after having dinner at a quaint but beautifully decorated little cafe, 2 blocks away from the railway station. Then, i bought some street food; grilled meat and mango. i also bought cheap Red wine at  7E. Its too sweet. Argh!

The train departed in the evening (4pm). Its on time. The train was clean, i paid for a lower bunk (RM56) upper bunk much cheaper. No food selling on train. No reading lamp. No charging point. The good thing? everything was clean, even the toilet was cleaner than most public toilet, and the aircond was good. 

30 mins into the journey, we arrived at Padang Besar immigration checkpoint. Bring all your belonging to the immigration and customs checking. Immigration first, after they stamped on the passport, move to customs (they asked to open up bag), then move upstairs (small food court and waiting area) to wait for their cabin check. Everything was easy, until i got the urge to go to the small room. phew! nastiest toilet i ever laid my eyes on. AVOID.

Hat Yai was quite okey. Most of the hawkers speak chinese to me. (bah, iyalah, mungkin nampak macam chinese) when i told them i'm not chinese and speak English instead, they laughed and carry on speaking chinese. some of them even speak malay. (i overheard men discussing escort price at the backalley-publicly negotiating, its kinda interesting, macam nego tambang tuk-tuk)

I arrived in KL sentral around 6.15 am. my next flight to Kuching is 7.50 pm. I go straight to KLIA2 and lepak there with the a group of Indonesian maids (carpeted area on level 2) waiting for their night flight to Jakarta. They thought i was an indonesian too. hahaha.. iya sajalah, told them i'm from Kalimantan. I read half of Phnom Penh Noir here. Its damn good!

When i came to Kl again a week after my Bangkok-Hat Yai trip, i made a mental note to buy KL Noir (4 books). I am currently on the last book (I didnt read in sequence) Red. Yellow. Blue and i'm on White now. If you ask me which is my favourite, i'd say the yellow. 

Ya, if you're curious about the KL Noir book, check them out. Its pretty decent. Read the RED first. 

A good book should help us to think deeper or broader or both. Sadly, not all who read, think. If you caught yourself reading just to gain knowledge and facts, maybe you should re-think reading. 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Police by Jo Nesbo

 (pic from

(pic from

So, finally, i read his book. this is the #10 installment of Harry Hole series. police thriller.

The story is good, with lots of suspense and turns. my problem reading this book is the characters' names and name of the places (all are foreign, as foreign can be). 

I didn't go crazy with the series like i did with Larsson's girl with dragon tattoo.

I spent a week to read this book. somehow that saddened me. I used to average 3 books per week. I tried reading some black dress books during the weekend (i just cant stomach it), ended up reading the back cover and tossed its back in the box.

maybe i should get rid of my TV (i bought one, when my sister came to visit me earlier this year). i somehow managed to average more than 20 hours of TV viewing weekly. 
going back to the book read and contemplation on the local scenario,
This month, in Malaysia, Sedition Act has been the news. its interesting to see how the law being interpreted or misinterpreted. i cant help but to compare the big gun in our police dept with the chief police in this fiction. The only resemblance i guess, is the power bestowed with the title. They're powerful people. very powerful people. 

when powerful people err, the consequences are usually hard to rectify. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Augustus Waters

O! i mean, its August already. but, never mind, this post is about Augustus Waters too.
its been a slow year for reading to me. i read a few books, some half-books. nothing i particulary remember or mind-blowing good. The Dimonds are great (still struggling to finish the World Until Yesterday). i discovered No.1 Ladies Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith, which is very entertaining and original. i'd read 4 book of the series, and its a very good read.
i didnt manage to submit my study propsal last july. i missed the deadline, but, somehow, i'm quite okey with it. (cant help to think of all those hours spent, picking on ideas and reading numerous journals and writing up the draft). o! well.
on a more cheerful notes, i attended the Java Jazz Festival earlier this year. Ran Brooks Half Marathon, 10km Spring Run. 2 long holidays in KK and Ranau. i watched more movies than i read books.
My favourite so far is the GotG.
About Augustus Waters, i like the movie (The Fault in Our Stars). But, the movie depressed the hell out of me, that whenver i tried to relive the lines/ scenes, it scares me. most of us will never know that kind of love they had. most girls will not come even near to their Augustus Waters. and that a very depressing thought.
Robin Williams left us last tuesday. the 'black dog' finally got him. i mourn his passing.
The comedy still going strong in Malaysia: Selangor MB crisis, Like for Israel, McD boycott. In bolehland, ya, Malaysia Boleh.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

book shopping

I have enough books to read for the rest of the year. 

Thanks to BBW book sale. I attended the Fireball and the box sale! i managed to get about 15 books at fireball for RM56, and a whooping 23 books at The Box for RM99.90 (excluding Sharlene's 5 and Jane's knitting book).

Earlier this year, i bought 8 ITBM books (BM books), 2 Jared Diamonds and another 2 historical books at MPH for a bit more than RM400 (in which they compensated with RM40 book voucher). I got 3 Signet's Classic and one fiction from the RM40 voucher +RM4.90. 

Ahhh.. and also the out of the budget book buying at LCCT, Gladwell's David and Goliath for RM57.90.

So, yeah, i'm loaded with books to read. 15+23+12+4 = 54. I'm giving away 2 of those books (a bread making book and Jamie's America to Diana). 52 is a good number to crunch. and i've abducted two books from my sister's (the Queen's vow and Habit-done reading)

I still have more than 10 unread/halfread books from last year. I hope I'm not going weak and splurge on book shopping frenzy come April. Yeah, i know, the book sale at PWTC.

Honestly, i'm not sure if i'd have the time to read all those books. But, its super assuring, knowing i have a heavily padded stash of good read waiting at home. On a friday, like today, i hope for a shorter day, cloudy/rainy weekend, me and my book in bed. 

have a good weekend!

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Queen's Vow by C.W Gortner

The Queen's Vow by C.W. Gortner
I was in KK last week. my mom was warded for heart monitoring. so, i had to be there. she's okey, but, i know, me coming over meant a lot to her. i was rushing from office to catch my flight back to KK and i was away from office almost a week before, so, theres quite a lot to juggle before i eventually sat for my dinner at Mary Brown Kuching Airport (not the best place to get fried or 'broasted' chicken) that i'd realize, i'll be away for three days without book to read.

i was in the middle of Jared Diamond's Collapse (planning to finish reading this week) and darn! i forgot to bring that book. (seriously, its a super interesting book).

i got this book at my sister's in KK. she bought it for RM39.49 at times. historical-fiction is not exactly my favourite genre. i watched a lot of movies with this genre, though. 

and i find it easier to understand the book because i'd watch the whole season 1 of The Borgias. the theo-politic of the Vatican and its influence over Christian Kingdoms in Europe.

the beginning of the book is a tad boring. throughout the book, its narrated from Isabel's view. started with the death of his father, Juan II of Castile, she's 3 at that time. Then the story progressed to their life out of the palace, after her half brother, Enrique IV reigned. Isabel was portrayed  as a willful, stubborn and religious woman.

she broke stereotype by chosing her own husband. together, they unite Spain. along the way, she has to face racial tension between Jews and Christians

isabel, the queen of Spain was also the force behind Colombus adventures. 

the book is a good read. i particularly like the author's afterword at the back, where the author admitted the historical facts ommited and inconsistencies. 

my boss called me right after i typed the last para for a meeting. the initial idea for this post vanished (yes, the peril of not committing ideas in written form when its appear). I'll amend the post later. 

have a good week! i'm going to a fireball sale! yay!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Book Read 2013

1. What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami
2. Mandela's Way by Richard Stengel
3. A Series of Unfortunate Events (Book 4: The Miserable mill) by Lemony Snicket
4. Snoopy features as The Master Chef by Charles M. Schulz
5. Wilderness Tips by Margaret Atwood
6. The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
7. Ox-Tales book #2 Air
8. The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
9. Swimming Home by Deborah Levy
10. Men Eating Crocodiles of Borneo by James Ritchie and Johnson Jong
11. Ampun Tuanku by Zaid Ibrahim
12. Reckless Driver by Lisa Rice
13. Return to Almora by R.K. Pachauri
14. Kelabu by Nadia Khan
15. Pecah by Kahirulnizam Bakeri
16. In One Person by John Irving
17. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
18. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
19. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
20. Jung: A Very Short Introduction by Anthony Stevens
21. Medium Raw by Anthony Bourdain
22. A Middle Eastern Feast by Claudia Roden
23. Kiss The Girl by James Patterson
24. For One More Day by Mitch Albom
25. The Midnight Club by James Patterson
26. The Foodie Handbook by Pim Techamuanvivit
27. The Art of Eating In
28. Oasis
29. Lari dari Syurga
30. Untuk Separa Tuhan
31. Titah Bukan Sabda

i missed some of the books, i'll furnish later as well as the name of authors for book 27-31.

attempts to shag

i'd done reading at least 3 books last month. 2 malay books published by ITBM. i need to re-read both, as my mind was busy with other things when i read them. 

i appreciate a very sound advice from a good journo on twitter "reading is being intimate with the subject, it needed care, attention and foreplay". 

sometimes, i think, i read, for the sake of reading something. reading, because its a habit, not caring for the outcomes or consequence of the read.

my recent visit to the Zoo Negara made me realize this grave mistake.

i was visiting the Zoo Negara in Hulu Kelang last friday (because a workshop scheduled for that day was canceled and its been more than 10 years since my last visit, and a wonderful experience i got from a visit to Zoo Dusit in Bangkok last year prompted me to have a see at our own 'city zoo'). the visit was terrible. (i'll write a post on this later). 

i sat on a bench in front of the lion enclosure. it was a very hot afternoon (few minutes to 3pm), i just need the space for myself and keeping a good distance away from the group with a very annoying toddlers in tow. a young couple with a stroller with baby in it passed by me and they too sat at the nearby concrete bench. the young couple was busy taking picture of their baby. i'd read from the info pad near the cage fence that lion sleeps 20-22 hours per day. 

in the enclosure, the lion and lioness were napping, then the lion woke up, licked the bottom of the lioness and initiated a very lame foreplay, the lioness opened her eyes, moved a bit. the lion got up and licked some more. the lioness stood and moved away, lion followed and tried to bite her at the back. lioness seemed bored and slumped back to nap. lion tried to bite her rump and shagged the very reluctant lioness. i'm not sure if any of them enjoyed the act. i, on the other hand, enjoyed the show very much. i know, i sound pervert. maybe, i am.

The journo's advice came to mind "don't rape a book, take your time to get intimate with it, get the pleasure of reading by getting into it. reading is an active participation"

maybe my last 3 book read was a bit like shagging a very reluctant partner.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Selamat Tahun Baru 2014

Selamat Tahun Baru 2014 because i cant possibly say HAPPY New Year 2014, right?

(ya, the grumpy old me is hitting) scream: PRICE HIKE YEAR. hahaha!

Anyway, a closure of 2013 and another resolution post for 2014. 

1. book-read
i read less than 40 books last year. about 10 half-read (not included in the book-read). i lacked the discipline of writing a post of my book read, or even listing it on my book read list. 
for 2014: i aim to read 36 books (about 10 days per book). i'm planning to go back to school this year, so most probably i'll spend more time reading journals. yeah, 36 is realistic, with a commitment to write a blog post of each book-read (i will no do review)

2. running
i ran 2 runs last year. Brooks (10km) and Kuching Spring run (21km). i chickened out for BIM (21km) and Penang Bridge (21km). both i registered and was at the receptive city but didn't go out to run. yes, i am ashamed of myself.
for 2014: i registered for brooks (21km), BIM (21km) will run at both event and will also go for Penang Bridge and Kuching-Spring run. at least 4 half marathon this year. i know, i can do this. i was a vegetarian by choice for 14 years, abstinence is sort of endurance and is what i do best.

3. writing
last year, i posted more on FB than on this blog. and also i get buzzed up on twitter, knowing so many interesting people twitting. nothing much on published write-ups though.
for 2014: 
BLOG: each post will carry a book, not a review. read my next post if you're curious.
FACEBOOK: i will post a close-to-my-heart issue on FB every 4 days, starting today (first post for 2014) [my FB is: Lydia Pilik]
TWITTER: will open another twitter account for my kids (they'd been dissing on why i don't follow them back on twitter, oh! duh, honey, its personal account. btw, its an open account so, anybody can take a peek @lmpilik)
PUBLISHED WRITE-UPS:i'm going back to school. i need to warm up writing reports etc. my aim is 4 published write ups.

4. traveling
last year, i went to Bangkok and Vientiane. i also went up Mt. Murud. finally, set my foot in Nabawan (interior of Sabah). one thing keep coming back to me, i must travel with my inner circle kibigans. we need a holiday together and also my family, we need a real vacation. 
for 2014: will go for Java Jazz Festival in Jakarta by end of Feb and extend the holidays to east java. no, i'm not interested to go to Bali. i am going hiking and maybe some rafting. family holiday (11 person) in September and solo travel in December. i will blog it out (with the book accompany), and my travels will be done at a very thrifty cost i assure you.

5. work 
i was swamped by works in 2013. mostly because, i didnt learn to prioritize, delegate and eliminate distractions. 
for 2014: 
i will seek help. 
i will delegate and empower colleagues and students
more than ever, i will rely on my trusted 'to-do-lists' and stick to it.
i will memorize all of my kids' name

6. hobby
last year, i think, i made 2 skirts for Eva. sew a pair of juvi's pillowcase (need to sew another 2_completely forgot about it). halfway stitching Fread's wall hanging bamboo cross stitch. 2 half done crocheted blanket. unbacked patched blanket. huarrrrrgh!
for 2014: i will finish all of the above. and will do a large colourful granny square blanket (300x 5' square). on everything else, i'll go easy.   

7. self-improvement
macam budu pula tu title. haha!
last year, i attended all-related to work course. no online course. 
for 2014: i will go back to school. writing up proposal, hunting for sponsor, begging for money. ha! i will also will attend at least 2 international seminar not directly related to my current job. and will finish at least one course online. will force somebody to invite me as a speaker for youth/ congregation. need to hone up communication skills too!

 too ambitious? naaah.. motto for this year? que sera, sera. what will be, will be.

The 2013 book read list will be updated during the weekend.
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