Archive for January, 2013

So, I’m not mentally prepared for this?!

I think Asian put a lot of weight to the age of 30. 三十而立,《论语》 asserted. I also always get puzzled over the tacit correlation between “turning 30” and “being old”.

I always think age is just a number for me. With me feeling young at heart, I could be any age! I also think turning 30 this year is just like any other year and I am nonchalant about this: I’m just getting more awesome! :p

I was wrong about myself! So wrong!  I didn’t have the slightest inkling that I would be terrorized by the notion that “I’m turning 30” until this morning.

I actually had very light degree of panic attack (on the scale of 0 to 10, it’s 0.1), when I read:-

"Your age on the event date is 30 years."

“Your age on the event date is 30 years.”

The fact that this bunch of people (and more!) is ageing together with me and turning 30 together does not seem to snap me out of my fear, at all! :p




CY 是少数比我更感性的朋友。和她会面后,加深了我的某些感触。。。


某些人,是你的至爱,但是无奈有缘无分。上天只是派他来当你的人生的一个过客。这个过客让你成长,让你体验了不一样的人生。失去他是撕心裂肺的痛。这痛,是永远的痛。无论你现在的生活有多幸福、无论你多感恩,no matter how much you have moved on (so much so that even if he’s coming back to you, you know for sure, he’s not the one already), the pain of losing him is something that you have to live with forever but you will eventually make peace with the pain 🙂

这么爱,又这么痛,但是他已经不是你要的人了,为什么?我也常问自己这个问题。 可能关键在于有没有画上一个完整的句号吧!当电影播到以下这段,我哭成了泪人。。。多么细腻和贴切的文笔!

“I’ve never forgotten him. Dare I say I miss him? I do. I miss him. I still see him in my dreams. They are nightmares mostly, but nightmares tinged with love. Such is the strangeness of the human heart. I still cannot understand how he could abandon me so unceremoniously, without any sort of goodbye, without looking back even once. The pain is like an axe that chops my heart. ” –  Yann Martel, Life of Pi


The ________ in me

Fill in the blanks! 


When I was in Standard 6, I chose to write about environmental issue in the essay-writing competition when most friends chose to write narrative or descriptive essays. I had already forgotten the given title, but I remember writing something about the hole in ozone layer, we need to love our mother earth and that it’d be a sad scene if we finally have to wear protective layers to shield ourselves from UV before going under the sun. I also recall I got frustrated about myself because I forgot how to write 紫 for 紫外线 (this would jeopardize my chance of winning the competition! Kiasuness in me! Haha!). I was the 2nd runner-up for the competition. 🙂

When I was still an undergraduate, I always requested my roommates to put paper that they wanted to throw away into the special bag that I prepared so that I could send that for recycling later. HL asked in perplexity one day, “Why the fuss? With your effort alone, you really think you can save the world?!” I quoted the starfish story I once read about, and I said, “At least the change starts with me!”

I went on campaigning about “reduce, reuse and recycle” even when I started working :p

Campaigning in Sg. Siput office

Campaigning in Sg. Siput office

Photo taken by zabo skype in 2007maggie cup = my pen-stand

Photo taken by zabo see khee in 2007
maggie cup = my pen stand

Me: I’m taking train (to Mid Valley), save me the trouble of finding car park.

Sue: You are one of the rare friends taking public transport in KL.

I really have genuine interest in environmental stuff and even considered to change my career path to become an environmental engineer. My “hard sell-ing” parlance while looking for environmental jobs: During the pursuit of my undergraduate degree, I developed interest in environmental engineering and hydrology. To pursue this further, I had taken the bold step of undertaking a year-long coursework masters in environmental engineering after serving the obliged 4-year bond with the sponsor of my undergraduate studies. Hehe :p


When I was a kid, once I woke up from my nap in the afternoon, I always stood by the door of the rear end of grandparents’ house and started yelling “meow meow meow meow meow meow….” for a good 2 minutes or so and thinking concurrently: White (my favorite cat), come back and play with me!!! This worked like miracle: White always responded to my summons and came back!

For this, I used to have this conjecture: if I focus my mind and think of what I want to tell the cats, and meow out, cats will get my message.

Introducing the 2 most significant cats in my life so far: This's Black! I used to think I could communicate with them!

Introducing the 2 most significant cats in my life so far: This’s Black!
I used to think I could communicate with them!

It's a shame that this photo is the only memento I have of White, my favourite cat...

It’s a shame that this photo is the only memento I have of White, my favourite cat…


If time permits, I like to make cards for friends and family.

My last piece of work, made in 2011

My last piece of work, made in 2011

Not just making cards, I also like paper craft! I managed to put my hobby to good use at work one day: I tried to highlight the oversight in design to the consultant via writing and tele-discussion but in vain. In the end, I made a to-scale model of the bridge, sent the following photos to the consultant and my message got across! 🙂



Part 2 | Part 3

My happiness project 1

It suddenly hit me in September 2010 and gave me impetus that I wanted to initiate “my happiness project”, like what Gretchen Rubin has done. The project is still ongoing (it’s a life-long project!) and I am still going through the process of trial and error to find out what works for me, what does not.

To me, sharing our experiences and knowledge offers multiple benefits. It is through sharing that we learn more. More often than not, the feedbacks we get after sharing would enable us to have better grasp of the matter.

Ju and Ja encouraged me to keep a journal of my thoughts. Ju said by doing so (writing, instead of just thinking), I get to feel the thought/matter/incident through a different neurological pathway and therefore I could feel/look at it through another perspective. I have yet to ascertain the validity of this statement, but so far, it works well for me!

So, here I am, trying to kill two birds with one stone: sharing and writing down in the hope that the ideas will internalize more 🙂

Fe was the first one to point me to my irrational beliefs by giving me a handout entitled “10 irrational beliefs”. My first response was: Oh my god! I hold on to almost all of those in the list! No wonder i find happiness is so hard to come by for me!

There are many reading materials online (just google for “irrational beliefs”). Here’s my adding-value effort, by putting the irrational beliefs side-by-side with the rational ideas, for ease of comparison. I used to go through this comparison chart every day before I slept and let myself experience the shift in mindset. I guess it’s been too long that I did not practice this mindset-shift already and I had to revisit it yesterday.  I found the rational ideas manage to snap me out/alleviate my negative feelings yet again. I hope this will help you too!

Irrational Beliefs

Rational Ideas

I must be loved or liked and approved by every significant person I meet. I want to be loved or liked and approved by some of the people in my life, and I know I may feel disappointed or lonely when that doesn’t happen, but I can cope with those feelings, and I can take constructive steps to make and keep better relationships. 
I must be completely competent, make no mistakes, and achieve in every possible way, if I am to be worthwhile. I want to do some things well most of the time but, like everyone else, I will occasionally fail or make a mistake. Then I may feel bad, but I can handle that, and I can take constructive steps to do better next time. 
Some people are bad, wicked, or evil, and they should be blamed and punished for this. It is sad that most of us do some bad things from time to time, and some people do a lot of bad things, but making myself upset won’t change that.
It is dreadful, nearly the end of the world, when things aren’t how I would like them to be. It is disappointing, sometimes very disappointing, when things aren’t how I would like them to be, but I can cope with that. Usually I can take constructive steps to make things more how I would like them to be, but if I can’t it doesn’t help to exaggerate my disappointment. 
My bad feelings are caused by factors outside of my control, so I can’t do anything about them. My problem may be influenced by factors outside of me or my control, but my thoughts and actions also influence my problem, and they ARE under my control. 
If something might be dangerous, unpleasant, or frightening, I should worry about it a great deal. Worrying about something that might go wrong won’t stop it from happening; it just makes me unhappy now. I can take constructive steps to prepare for possible problems, and that’s as much as anyone can do. So I won’t dwell on the future now. 
It’s easier to put off something difficult or unpleasant than it is to face up to it. Facing difficult situations or problems may make me feel bad at the time, but I can cope with that. Putting off problems doesn’t make them any easier – it just gives me longer to worry about them.
I need to depend on someone stronger than myself. It’s good to get support and assistance from others when I want it, but the only person I really need to rely on is myself.
My problem was caused by event in my past, and that’s why I have my problem now. My problem may have started in some past events, but what keeps it going now are my thoughts and actions, and they are under my control. 
I should be very upset by other people’s problems and difficulties. It is sad to see other people in trouble, but I don’t help them by making myself miserable. I can cope with feeling sad, and sometimes I can take constructive steps to help them. 

* Original work by Albert Ellis. The table tabulated materials from the Counselling and Psychological Services of Unimelb.

You know you are loved when… – part 1

… Shirely always squeezed time out of her hectic schedule to prepare breakfast for me when she offered me refuge in Melbourne.


… Ah ball knew that I was facing insolvency and too broke to afford meat while I was being jobless in NZ, he cooked tom yum chicken and leaving a major portion of the meat for me. “Eat more!!!” He said. Not only that, he had to trudge from University of Auckland to CBD carrying my suitcase, helped me “bake dry” my dampened bible, visited me twice in Rotorua, and the list goes on! 🙂

tom yum chicken

… NF purposely took train to Kepong bringing my birthday cake!


… L insisted my dress fits him like a glove -__- ok, red herring! Haha! :p


… L knew I was upset and tried to paint a smile on my face over skype!


Office fun and love 2

Me: Ms. C is so funny! Nowadays she meows at me to get my attention.

F: Haiya, cats are like that. Can only understand meow.

Me: Haha! Tomorrow I try purring.

F: You can do that but don’t come near to me, I scare that I will kick you. Hate CATS!!!

Me: i call SPCA if you kick me!


F: Samantha is the most heartless colleague we ever have.

C: True! Instead of buying something constructive from her trip, all she bought back were snakes and worms!



Me: I study manuals until so sleepy! So I come up and find you all play.

F: What do you treat our place as?!

Me: Playground!

Part 1 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

Sawatdee ka! – Brief transit in Bangkok

22 Dec 2012, Saturday

bangkok-thai massage

I was this young when I first visited Bangkok in 2007… With more hair, face was still firm and elastic! :p 


Pin and her mom picked me up from Don Meuang Airport. Before I got into the car, Pin gave me a powerful hug! Missed this so much!

A photo taken in 2007

A photo taken in 2007

I told Pin I like the Thai university uniform because it’s so sexy!

Pin: We are actually saving the world by wearing tight-fit clothes!

Me: How so?

Pin: Using fewer materials!

bangkok - parking lots

I will be so dead driving in Bangkok: the parking lots are significantly smaller!


Thai lunch at Siam Paragon!

Pin’s mom is so modern! She asked, “Sam, have you taken photos of the food served?” 😀 She knows exactly that people of our generation can’t curb the urge to share everything online :p


I don’t like taking solo shots, but Pin made sure that I took photos with all the prominent landmarks! 🙂

Why is God so indifferent to my bad hair day? :p Somehow, my hair went back to its curly nature while I was travelling no matter how hard I tried to straighten it using hairdryer! Must be the humidity!

Siam Ocean World

Pin: Oh, Sam! You are a star at the aquarium!

bangkok - central world

Pin also made sure I witnessed that Central World is up and running now after the riots in May 2010.

bangkok - parking without engaging brake
Similar way of parking was observed in Jakarta as well: parking the cars without engaging the parking brake (or hand brake, my car has foot brake instead), a measure to mitigate the issue of having insufficient parking lots.

bangkok - si lom station

Si Lom station was where I parted with Pin.

bangkok - hua lamphong train station

I’m guessing: it’s more comfortable, more cooling sitting on the floor instead of the designated seats? And that people got to have more personal space? 🙂

bangkok - baggage storage at hua lamphong

Luggage storage service at Hua Lamphong train station.


Siao Sue kept bugging me to smell her hands when I got to meet her, which according to her, had been contaminated while taking the Thai economy train.

bangkok - chatuchak1

bangkok - chatuchak2

Headed to Chatuchak weekend market, where suecing bought, bought, bought, bought and bought while I bought and bought nia…


This cat ears hat is so cute!


Food cover with cute shape!


So wrong! Hahaha!


No comment! Haha!


Q: Please identify the only 2 people who carried their bags in front of them at Chatuchak.

A: These 2 Malaysian girls! :p

We thought this is a way to avoid pickpockets (Pin and her mom also reminded me to do so), but we observed many pairs of eyes riveted on us -_-


Sue: Oh! The size of the eggs is so cute!

Me: -_- macam tak pernah tengok quails’ eggs…


Still buying!!!


Perempuan kuat! She could carry both our backpacks at one go!


Zabos who can’t travel light!

bangkok - hua lamphong train station 2

Chiang Mai, here we come!


The entry step’s way too high even for me! Ang moh standard?

overnight sleeper train to chiang mai

Claiming my bed for the night.


Ishita’s on the upper berth. Another cabin mate=Shimrun. 2 pretty girls from India.


Hippo and doraemon, on tram, in a train!


My xmas gift from zabo!


Going from one carriage to another warranted extra caution.


At the restaurant car on train: It’s 8pm…. And it’s time to change the light bulbs….


Disco mode now!


No showering facilities on train, resorting to wet wipes.

Prattled too much prior to dinner; post-dinner, not on speaking terms :p

Good night, Thailand! Chiang Mai, see you tomorrow!

Day 2: Chiang Mai 1Day 3: Chiang Mai 2 | Day 4: Chiang Mai – Chiang Rai (a), (b) | Day 5: Chiang Rai | Day 6: Chiang Rai – Chiang Khong | Day 7: Chiang Khong – Laos | Sue’s

DIY earring holder!

I crammed all my earrings into this cute Disney box all this while.

Disney box

Shortcomings of this storing means:-

1) It is inefficient when I need to locate a particular pair of earrings that I feel like wearing for the day (you know, like: oh, I oversleep! And this dress only goes with that pair of earrings!)

2) Cramming everything in the box inhibits me from keeping track of my growing collection with ease

The solution:-

Top row=bought during my recent visit to Thailand and Laos :)

Top row=bought during my recent visit to Thailand and Laos ♥ ♥ ♥

The idea’s actually the brainchild of Anais, our roommate at Montrose hostel, Franz Josef, NZ. Being a pronounced procrastinator, it took me a year to finally buy the right net material! So which ones should I wear to work tomorrow? 😀

I spot you, creativity!

Creative job recruitment ad!

Reflection of the day

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Inside the glass bottle…

“I want to walk tall, believe in myself, have the courage to ask for what I want and need, and live a life that mattered. I want to wake up in the morning with a smile on my face and know that I am loved and that I belonged. I am desperate to feel worthy and I am hungry for the opportunity to live my fullest potential.” - modified from "The Dark Side of the Light Chasers" - Debbie Ford

Under the apple tree…

"If you are not spending all of your waking life in discontent, worry, anxiety, depression, despair, or consumed by other negative states; if you are able to enjoy simple things like listening to the sound of the rain or the wind; if you can see the beauty of clouds moving across the sky or be alone at times without feeling lonely or needing the mental stimulus of entertainment; if you find yourself treating a complete stranger with heartfelt kindness without wanting anything from him or her... it means that a space has opened up, no matter how briefly, in the otherwise incessant stream of thinking that is the human mind." - A New Earth, by Eckhart Tolle

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Ich lese….

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

The time keeper by Mitch Albom

The art of thinking clearly by Rolf Dobelli

The first phone call from heaven by Mitch Albom

Inferno by Dan Brown

For one more day by Mitch Albom

A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez

A study in scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

The five people you meet in heaven by Mitch Albom

Have a little faith by Mitch Albom

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

To kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

The Brain that Changes Itself by Norman Doidge

Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren

A Fresh Start by John Chapman

Inspiring quotes!

If someone prays for patience, you think God gives them patience? Or does he give them the opportunity to be patient? If he prayed for courage, does God give him courage, or does he give him opportunities to be courageous? If someone prayed for the family to be closer, do you think God zaps them with warm fuzzy feelings, or does he give them opportunities to love each other? (God in "Evan Almighthy")
“To love another person is to see the face of God.” ― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” -Mark Twain
Aggie: "But what about the people who hurt you? Don't you ever want to make them suffer?" Norman Babcock: "Well, yeah, but what good would that do? You think just because there's bad people that there's no good ones either? I thought the same thing for a while. But there's always someone out there for you. Somewhere." - Paranorman
“You're only here for a short visit. Don't hurry, don't worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way.” by Walter Hagen
Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, wine in the other, body thoroughly used up, body totally worn out and screaming "WOOOHOOOO what a ride!" - by anonymous
When you travel, it’s not like you take a part of each place away with you; rather, it’s as if you leave a part of yourself there, like a part of you forever belongs to that place – the time, the people, and the things you saw; and over time, it gets burned deeper into your soul - by anonymous