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Instagramania #2

I'M feeling empowered by Instagram and that may explain my addiction to the fun application right now. Without any time-consuming photo-editing, I have gorgeous Andrew-Campbell worthy pictures instantly with the app. (Or not, tell me Andrew). My only problem is that Instagram doesn't seem to be stable on my Android phone. The app has random shut-down fits and it's really frustrating especially when I see something nice while on the go. Poofff! There goes the desert full of aimless camels! I have no problems with the app on my i-Phone though - it's perfect except that the 3GS model doesn't allow for good quality photos in the dark. Oh well. Here are more photos. 




Is there like a conniving set of rules in Blogger for photo uploads that I'm unaware of ??? Can't seem to upload any more than these.


Instagramania #1

ONEwould think that going from a busy working woman to currently being unemployed would give me plenty of time. You know, like many hours of don't-know-what-to-do. But it seems like I still don't have enough time. Not sure how the hours fly by but I do spend many leisurely hours basking in the sun and going for walks in the neighbourhood or stalking people on Facebook on top of the real social activities with friends here. I've also been taking some photographs. On and off Instagram and here are some. 



Nice-Bouncy-Hair, please.

I'M just hoping that I'd still have hair left on my head when I go back home for Christmas next month. Judging from the amount of fallen hair I collect after every wash, it doesn't look good at all. I'm beginning to think that if I kept every strand that's scattered around my house, I could probably make a wig out of it! 

So yeah. Serious hair loss is no fun. It's like watching someone you love ruin his life and there is nothing you can do about it. That's the kind of helplessness I'm experiencing right now. The cause? I've been told by the thousands, men and women, who've arrived here before me that it's the desalinated water which has damaging calcium and chlorine . The water that run in the taps in Qatar is basically processed sea water. Sea water is changed into drinkable water by taking out the salt and bacteria. Why? Obviously fresh water resources are limited here. Not like where I come from where we are blessed with hundreds of lime s…

With or Without A Rainbow

I hear it's been raining cats and dogs back in Malaysia. Apparently the monsoon season this time around has been terrible and yet I can't imagine all that water pouring out of the sky. Over here,  I haven't experienced a single raindrop ever since I arrived last month. Not that I miss the rain and the traffic woe it brings to the city people + I love a bright sunny day any time but it's always refreshing after a shower. The sky is clearer and the air, cooler and maybe even cleaner. With or without a rainbow, it gives hope to a few more days of blue skies and sun. 

Last night when I stood by the balcony in a star-gazing attempt, I was sorely disappointed. I had read somewhere that there'd be a rare meteor shower this week and I was hoping to catch a few falling stars. Unfortunately, it was an unnaturally cloudy night that had blocked away all the stars from me, crushing my wishes to wish upon a shooting star. The sky here is usually cloudless and when it's dark, …

Absorbing Like A Sponge

WHY is KFC such a big deal ? I don't get it. It's still a celebratory food among people from some cultures. Initially I thought it was just a Malaysian thing but apparently that's not the case. People literally light up at the mention of this fried chicken from Kentucky and look forward to an evening full of it! It's chicken for god's sake, not chocolate for it to be finger lickin' good, isn't it ? 

Sorry folks. I've been hopeless on here the past few weeks. I've just moved to Qatar and still missing my family, friends and homeland rights and at the same time, the dusty new country has given me the bug so I've just been recovering and discovering the medical facilities and institutions here. Let's just say a trip to a clinic for sinusitis cost me six times more of what I usually paid back home and it involved a face x-ray + blood and urine tests = a bag full of pills. Worst, the doctor had no sense of humour so I ended up laughing at my own j…

Stress, Burn and Total Nothingness

WHAT a testing month it has been. A family medical emergency had me under a lot of stress just before my move to the middle east next week. Thanks to all the prayers and positive energy channeled our way along with expert advice and care, we have a better idea on what's going on with my dad for the next course of action. Well, there's going to be close monitoring with medications in the following weeks but the temporary relief provided by science, information and intuition is good for my stomach more than anything else. 


My stomach and I have a long history together, mostly unpleasant, nevertheless there's been way too many moments in my personal medical history to ignore them. For those who know me well would also know of my chaotic digestive system. I feel like my stomach has a built-in aquarium with bubbly fishes swimming in it most of the time. Stress - the mother of all fuck-ups, is its biggest nemesis. It's like I can feel the stomach ooze out burning acid when my…

Random Thoughts: Tiny Bastards, Collateral Damage and Pink Sarees

HOUSEWORK. Chores. Sorting out things. Vacuming and mopping. Washing and drying. Just generally keeping the house dust free. I wish I could stay in rustic, little hotel rooms everyday so things are always organised for me when I return from lunch. But my home is not a hotel room and unfortunately, I'm the maam and the maid all rolled into one little person covering an area of 1,500 square feet! It's a tough job when you have to juggle chores between a full-time job and it doesn't help to have a billion microscopic dust particles that seem to have a hundred sets of feet each to invade the living space right after a cleaning session. I hate those conniving, tiny bastards. 


It's not like I live in a particularly dusty country. Apart from the stupid haze, thanks to a certain neighbouring country for their clever handling of forest fire or whatever it is that they keep burning annually, my country doesn't have dust storms. Thunder storms yes, but no dust storms. Still, I…

Life Goes On

This is a post from a year and half ago. Was feeling a little down over the death of our double heart transplant girl yesterday. 

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DURING work at the University Hospital last week, I took a moment at the mortuary. In the lobby stood a lady concealed in an over-sized dark glasses with arms folded across her chest solemnly. Another group of people had just arrived, making their way hurriedly pass the glass door to the reception area. Now I didn't know their stories and their sorrows weren't mine but my heart went out to them. Said a silent prayer for the living and I exited the area not knowing that in a couple of days I'd be rushing through that glass door myself. 

Just less than a year ago, a lady friend of mine had lost her son due to hospital negligence. At 51, she's buried her parents and a 29-year-old son. Burying anyone is not easy but to bury one's own child? That's like against the very order of nature. I guess…

Cute As Buttons

NOW that my hair is considerably long by my standard, the styling options are endless. I'm delighted that I could, for the first time in my life, braid my hair! French, Dutch, Fishtail, Waterfall, Five-Strand braids. You name it, I learn them all on YouTube and practice on my life-size Barbie, Mek Zhin. Additionally, hair accessories like bands, hair vines and fancy pins are also catching my fancy. On the flip side, some of these things can be so dear given the materials used and its workmanship. For an example, a simple hair vine at Evita Peroni costs something like USD 170. Ridiculous. Some pearls and beads woven through wires. How difficult can that get? So I decided to take matters into my own hands! 


I had some fresh-water pearls and some shiny, black bicones. I wish I also had some diamantees to spice it up a little but the black and white combo is quite classy on its own. Using a long strand of clear nylon string, folded into two, I put in the pearls. The challenge was in ke…

Chicken Soup For The Soul

AFTER about 10 years in the company, I have resigned! It feels strangely liberating and I never knew a resignation could present me with this incredible sense of freedom. Suddenly, I'm faced with choices. It's like ending a long relationship, not a long, bitter one but just one that has lost its sparks. The last time I left a company, I didn't resign. I fired myself instead. That, my friends, felt sooo good it was like releasing myself from an abusive relationship. I was jobless, penniless and almost homeless after that but boy, walking out of that office did feel like I'd grown magical wings. 


But life can't be bad all the time. Four months later, I joined the paper, slipping into my dream job. Then on, life has been a roller coaster ride of a million experiences I wouldn't trade for anything else in the world. Work was work but more than work itself, all I ever wanted was the opportunity to find myself through the job as securing a position at the top of the c…

Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate

I'VE always been fond of oils. The good kind that doesn't settle in your underarms and abdominal area to create that jiggle factor of course! When I was a kid, my mom used to douse me, body and face, in Johnson's Baby Oil. I went to school with Johnson's on my skin, and I continued using it into my early 20s. For those who're wondering...No. It didn't leave my face oily because I usually had a thin layer of talcum over it. 

Culpeper replaced Johnson's when I started working. I got a big bottle of Jojoba Oil as the base, which I mixed with drops of Rose Geranium and Lavendar oils, batch by batch. Sometimes I also added my treasured Rose Oil. So I went to bed each night with this mix on my skin and my friends were like 'I can't believe you intentionally slather oil onto your face!'. 

But I do because oil on skin is soothing + I love the mosturised feel it gives my skin in the mornings. Meandering through the skincare section of a mall last year, I c…

The Open Door

WE had a strange sleeping arrangement when we were kids. My childhood bedroom was also bedroom for my brother and mom. Since dad worked night, it was just the three of us home. So we slept with mom even when there were rooms for us. Mom usually had her little son next to her in that big bed by the window, and I was put in the single bed which was across the room door. Basically, my bed was just, say, three meters away from the door, which was always kept open. 

The thing about open doors is that they are creepy. You switch off the room lights, the room goes pitch-dark at once but it eventually warms up when the street light or moonlight seeps through the window. Then you see familiar shadows on the wall. Perhaps of a gently swaying mango branch just before a midnight shower or of bats dashing across the porch like what I used to see on our wall. There's always activity and life even when you're safe and sleeping. But the open door will always be dark and mysterious. No shadows …

Portrait on the Banknote

"HE is on every one of them. I bet his grandchildren joke about how it's 'their grandfather's money' all the time," I said to Bel referring to our new banknotes with the old guy on them. 


You should check out these notes. They're like fake money, like the sort the Chinese burn at funerals. It may take some getting used-to to see the new MYR as serious money but they are rapidly rolling and replacing the previous series of banknotes. My hope is that after some months of changing hands, the seasoned notes may finally look like they actually mean business. 

"He's Tunku (Abdul Rahman), the first prime minister. Someone argued with me that the portrait is of the Agong (King), can you believe that?," replied Bel. 

"I think that someone is right. The man is the first Agong. The one on the notes is wearing a Tengkolok (a royal head dress) and Tunku was hip with that Songkok (a type of cap worn by men in this part of the world) senget ( Tunku had a…

Blame The Games

I'VE been quiet again, and this time, it's the Olympics. Thanks to the official Olympic Channel that has HD quality live streams and replays, I've been hooked the whole time. Been spending many hours, watching and following the games, and in just two more days, it'll all be over and I'll have to get back to routine and reality.

So Malaysia's won two medals :) That's a great achievement for us, let's not get into detail because that would entail a long, sensitive debate on local sports management. Datuk Lee Chong Wei brought back a silver in badminton (men's single) in a stressful match against China last week, and yesterday I woke up to an unexpected bronze from our 19-year-old diver, Pandelela Rinong Pamg in the women's 10m event. It's a great feeling to see your national flag being raised against the Olympic rings after a competition. Pandelela is Malaysia's first female to win an Olympic medal and from a sport other than bad…

Made In China

SO the first doping accusation in the London Olympics has kicked off with the sensational Chinese swimmer Ye Shiwen. It makes me wonder if a non-Chinese (or just a non-Asian for that matter) swimmer had created the same magic in the pool that Saturday evening, would she be subjected to such heavy criticism. Really. But I can't blame those who doubted/ doubt Ye if you had seen her create that record. 



Ye not only won gold in the women's 400m individual medley but she also smashed the world record by a second, her own personal best by five seconds, and swam the final 50m faster than both the American stars Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte had managed in the men's 400m individual medley.  Now, that must be mind-boggling too - to have beaten two of world's best male swimmers in that final lap. 


No wonder World Swimming Coaches Association executive director John Leonard labelled Ye's feat as 'unbelievable', you know, as in 'impossible', quite suspiciously. …

Never Say Never

IT'S that season when hormonal and non-hormonal factors are driving the women around me to do major changes to their hair. Different styles, cuts, colour, whatever. So why wouldn't I be carried away, right? (Even if two of my resolutions for the year are to keep my hair long and leave it the shiny, natural black it is). But I love colours too much and when I saw the colour revolution bubbling around me, I just had to get mine done.

First step was research. Lots of research because I rather go bald than to live with bad hair. So I googled and googled, and came up with a few ideas. Colours in mind were deep blue, aubergines and greens in Ombre style. I thought these colours were a good match for my natural black. Ombre's all about understated funky and it makes classic braids and buns look edgy. Note to self was to avoid red at all cost.

Second step was to have a partner in crime. So I had Mek Zhin. Meks has the most beautiful hair ever. Thick, healthy and glorious + we s…