Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Beautiful Putrajaya ruined by stupidity


Went to the Dutch Embassy this morning to submit my passport and relevant documents for them to prepare my MVV (temporary residence permit)... finally! My MVV was approved ages ago, but because I had to collect so bloody many governmental and legal documents, it's just been a long time coming for me to actually pick it up. Anyway, it's ready Wednesday morning and then it's finally DONE!

Before I could head on over there this morning, I had to get my birth certificate and its translation from Putrajaya. I had ordered it before CNY, and although it's normally ready in 2 days, because of all the holidays, I ended up going to collect it more than a week later.

I already blogged about JPN (National Registration Department) earlier, so this time I'm gonna talk about getting my translations done at the Palace of Justice. Although Malaysian birth certs are dual-language - Nama/Name, Umur/Age - strangely, the answers are only in Malay - 'Informasi tidak didapati' etc.

The birth cert only costs RM5, but the translations cost RM40 for two copies, signed and stamped by the translator/penterjemah.

Yelleh Belleh had followed me to Putrajaya, and so after collecting my birth cert, we walked across the road and diagonally towards the Palace of Justice. Isn't it pretty? I love all the trees and landscaping in front and in between all the buildings. Although the buildings have their own individual shape and design, the landscaping all around brings the look all together.

Grand entrance!

Security, unfortunately, like most services in this country, is lacking. There is a show of it, but it doesn't look very effective at all. You'll know if you've been in there. Glad I don't work there.

The interior is amazing! It's like a 5-star hotel, with rounded staircases at the end of the lobby. Marble columns and carved columns everywhere. Really beautiful. Too bad it has to be spoilt by the ugly, superficial security system in front.

It's almost like those churches or mosques that tourists go abroad to visit for their architecture :)

Signing off now, Friends (yes, I still watch it!) is starting and I've run out of Putrajaya pics.

Oh, but before that, I really have to remark that everything in Putrajaya is really beautiful and the people are well-trained... but THE DAMN SIGNBOARDS ARE STILL AS STUPID AS IN THE REST OF THE COUNTRY.

Looking for Wisma Putra (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) from Precinct 2 (where all the government departments are) took me, literally, 20 minutes of going up and down that big Precinct 2 road, looking for the turnoff towards Wisma Putra. There are absolutely NO signboards to Wisma Putra from Precinct 2 until you actually reach the road which turns into the building itself. How idiotical is that?!

Not to mention the countless (and I'm seriously not exaggerating!!) signboards strategically placed BEHIND the uniformly-spaced trees. The trees were obviously planned that way, so how could Mr Signboard NOT know that? Utter, utter stupidity!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sookie's open house and food at Delicious Dua Residency

Happy news! I have loads of photos to accompany my activities the past week! Been making use of my new phone camera - one of those advanced cameras that actually make photo-taking more difficult because you can't breathe while pressing the snap button because of all the auto focus rubbish on it.

Anyway, to start off, here's a pic of my cousin's really cute beagle, Labelle.

When they brought her over to Mumsy Bumsy's place for dinner, she couldn't stop chasing Maxi (who moved there with Foxy before CNY) all around the house. She must have had the serious hots for him because she didn't even chase Foxy.

The next day, I headed to Sookie's house in KL for her open house. She had a really huge one as usual, with lion dance included.

They were pretty awesome, performing acrobatics in her driveway.

And now inside the house, blessing the various rooms. Normally the lions go into all the rooms, but these just stayed on the ground floor at the living area and kitchen.

Friends at the open house.

Heading home for dinner. Twin Towers up ahead... and lots of traffic!

The next night, I joined Sookie and two of her friends at Delicious at Dua Residency. I never knew they had a fine dining section, but it's really nice and has really good food as well.

Nice selection of wines.

I'm pretty sure those lights are the same as the ones in Alexis BSC, because I've also snapped a shot of those lights and tweeted about how I liked the way they shine upwards.

The steaks at Delicious are supposed to be superb. And indeed they are.

And for the last part, complimentary passionfruit marshmallows and chocolate truffles for each of us. It was so awesome, only mine was left at the end for me to take a photo of.

The bakery section also located in the same area.

What a small world it is, when one of Sookie's friends announces that she has another friend dropping by to meet her for drinks. Turns out to be a really old friend of mine, Clarence (seated on the left). He hadn't had dinner yet, but the kitchen was already closed downstairs (at 10.30pm), so we headed up to the normal Delicious cafe.

Same look as the Bangsar branch.

I didn't stick around for long upstairs as I had asked Mumsy Bumsy for a ride home and she arrived soon after we had moved up.

It was a nice night, catching up with friends and seeing a new dining place in KL.

More photos coming up, but it's time for Sunday dinner... darn, I'm still really really full from lunch and a Starbucks session earlier.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

CNY in Penang (and some Engrish)

Back in KL and lovin' it!

These days I get stressed so much more easily, cuz I keep thinking I've got loads to do - which I do - and it's so difficult to organise things, with errands to run, bills to pay, things to pack, things to give away, friends to say goodbye to... bleh.

Today is another public holiday for Chinese New Year and at first I was pretty pissed off about it because it means that my MacBook Pro will take another day to come back to me, also that I can't run some of my errands as places will be closed and people will also not be working.

Then I woke up this morning and realised, oh well, if people aren't working, then I can't do anything either, so I may as well forget about the errands for one more day and not stress out about completing things today. It's called Zen. And I need loads of it!

Anyway, I spent CNY in Penang last week, staying at my grandmother's place. It was nice to be there, eating good food and spending lots of time with the family. No extended family (thank goodness?) as my dad's family only consists of him and his sister.

Upon arriving in Penang, we drove straight to the Pulau Tikus market to have dinner. Although almost all the tables were occupied, I realised suddenly that it was strangely very quiet. It's not often a hawker stall area is quiet and peaceful, but it really was. It was kinda surreal.

Although I ALWAYS have Wan Tan Mee in Penang because it's so different and so much nicer than everywhere else (with the exception of Hong Kong style, which is nice too, and the stall near my house which is awesome), when I sat down next to this Prawn Mee stall, temptation overcame and I ordered that instead. And ordered Wan Tan Mee after.

EVERYONE orders more than one dish to eat in Penang! It's like a requirement because everything is so tasty!

Driving back home, I snapped a photo of this old-school shop. According to the signboard above, it's a tailor or sewing shop. Penang is full of these old-school shopfronts. So quaint.

The next day we headed to Prangin Mall because Yelleh Belleh had 4 tickets to watch any movie at Cathay Cineplexes. Because we had our younger sisters with us, we had to choose something kid-friendly, so we picked Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief. It was okay. I get a bit fussier about movies and storylines as I get older, and in this show, I was annoyed that they didn't show the girl playing a bigger part in it, as she was supposedly the offspring of Athena, goddess of wisdom and war strategy. And yet, all the wisdom and war strategy came from Percy Jackson, of course. She was just there to take up oxygen in the film.

Walking around before the movie, I spotted some lovely Engrish food banners. I always stop at these banners because I'm bound to be rewarded with gems like 'Chicken Gordon Brew'.

And fretting prawns.

For dinner, naturally, another hawker food court. The food here was really yummy (sorry, I can't remember where it is, but it's near the Tanjung Bungah side of the island since we live there). The Wan Tan Mee was splendid! I also notice many more foreigners in Penang these days. And not tourists, as in, people who make Penang their retirement home. I guess many westerners like the old world charm of Penang. A bit too old-fashioned and chaotic for my taste to make it a permanent home, though.

On the first day of CNY (which was also Valentine's Day this year), we always visit my grandfather's memorial place in the Buddhist assocation/temple/place. My grandfather's plaque is circled in red. Next to his picture is a red piece of paper covering my grandmother's side of the plaque when she eventually goes to join him *sniff*. On the right of his plaque is my grandmother's mother, and on her right, is my grandfather's mother.

What we do when we go to see them is to get joss sticks, light them, pray in front of the plaques then stick the joss sticks into a big bowl with everyone else's. Then we sit for a bit at the few tables provided and eat free mandarin oranges, ground nuts and sweets that were donated to the Buddhist nuns (no monks here) or that they bought with money donated. We also donate money before indulging in this stuff.

This golden statue of Buddha is located in front of the ancestor hall.

This is where people pray. There are tiles of Buddha plastered all over the walls.

Yelleh Belleh looking cautiously at me, since I'm known to love taking quirky (read: weird) photos of people. Above her on the wall behind are all the Buddha tiles.

Because it's the first day of CNY (there are two main days, and fifteen days in total), most of Penang is shut. The majority of Penangites are Chinese after all. We were almost heading to a fast food restaurant when we came across this vegetarian restaurant. Vegetarianism is big amongst Buddhists, so I guess that's why the few Chinese eateries that are open would be vegetarian. This is my plate with tofu, egg and beancurd roll.

Vegetarian food is not cheap! Yelleh Belleh decided to have potatoes and curry 'chicken' with hers.

And now I'm back in KL :P

Last night I went to my other grandmother's house for the reunion dinner on my mother's side. Received lots of angpaus (always a nice thing), and after the dinner I met up with an old schoolmate, Fahmi. He's leaving for Lisbon in a few days for a performance residency. How arty!

And tonight is my farewell dinner hosted by Mumsy Bumsy for her relatives to say goodbye and good luck to me. But first, Sookie's open house this afternoon!

Busy, busy, it's no wonder I'm stressed about finishing things up here.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Well wishes that turned into a rant - as usual! Happy CNY :)

Happy Chinese New Year everyone!

And also a romantic Valentine's Day!

Valentine's Day has never really been a big thing for me as I have never really had a special someone nearby whenever the day comes around.

Last year, I spent it with the girls, cooking in Sharry Berry's place, then later joined Tequila Lin, her Australian friend, and Schrobbenmaster... who ended up being my special someone some time after anyway. Strange how things work out, huh? Especially remembering what was on Schrobbenmaster's mind most of the night. Heh.

Anyway, this will probably be my last Chinese New Year in Penang for a while, as I'll soon be heading over to NL. I think coming back for Christmas and New Year would be a more convenient time, instead of in the middle of January or February, so CNY in Malaysia wouldn't be very feasible.

At this point in time, I'm not really feeling too bad about it, as my eyes hurt, my back aches and my feet are sore. Haven't been able to get enough sleep, as I sleep in the same space as the little siblings who wake up at unearthly hours and make so much noise that I also have to wake up, or lie in bed with my eye mask, struggling to block out the noise.

This year it's also been rather horrible, as the silly MacBook Pro decided to give up on me and not show anything on its display. So it's had to stay with the Machines people in The Gardens, who promised to update me after 3 days on what was gonna happen to it. It's now been more than 5 working days and they don't even pick up the phone when I call. This kind of behaviour is EXTREMELY irritating!!

Look, if you say you're gonna call a customer, THEN CALL THE CUSTOMER!! Otherwise just ask the damn customer to call you instead. Whichever way, the customer has the right to know what's happening with her several thousand ringgit worth of machinery. This is not the first time I've received horrendous service from a Mac dealer. There was another one in 1 Utama (can't remember if it's Machines as well) who told me he'd order my external hard drive and give me a call, but after two bloody weeks, he never even freaking ordered the damn drive. Lazy bastard. Naturally I told them to bugger off and leave it.

I want my MacBook Pro back!!

This post seems to have turned into a major rant about Machines and freaking store people who never call back. Hey, it's not like if you call me, I'll think you've fallen in love with me okay? Freaking do your job, man!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

When it's time, it's time.

I used to wonder when a good time to change slippers (flip flops) was.

I used to just change mine whenever some stick-on logo had fallen off, or when I saw cute ones in the store and replaced my old ones with those.

But now that I'm older and things like fallen-off logos and the rotten state of my slippers don't bother me anymore, when is a good time?

I found the answer out tonight while walking Freelance Grace (see how subtly I manage to promote her newfound freelance writer freedom?) out from my home.

It had been raining heavily while she was over chit chatting and taking some of my magazines back (God bless her, I have less things to pack guiltily now). Incidentally this magazine giveaway is Stage 2 of Operation Bye Bye KL, anyone interested, do leave a note at the end of the post. I have Vogues, Bazaars, Glamours, NYLONs, FHMs and lots of creative mags and annuals.


As I was walking out with her, I suddenly slipped on the smooth tiles in front of the minimarket. It was all I could do to remain upright. Phew! Don't wanna twist my ankle again, and definitely not on the icky wet tiles of the common area.

And that's when I realised... it's time to change my slippers.


I completed Stage 1 of Operation Bye Bye KL tonight. Kinda sad about it. Well, I think I'll be sad at all the stages of this Operation.

I brought my two dogs over to Mumsy Bumsy's place tonight, where they'll be staying from now on. The house is all quiet and lonely now. I even came back from Mumsy Bumsy's place, put my keys on the table and thought, "Should I let them out now or later?", when I realised that they aren't even here anymore.


Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Tailoring at Lord's and quick trip to Melaka

When Schrobbenmaster was here, he took several beautiful pictures of my dogs so that I'd be able to look at them when living in NL. I don't quite know if that's the best thing to do, since whenever I see them, I miss them. Out of sight, out of mind works for me. Still, it's really brilliant having very good portraits of them doing their silly tricks all day.

He also wanted to get affordable tailor-made jackets and shirts here, so after much asking around, we chose to go to Lord's in BSC, as it has a very good reputation. We were a bit apprehensive that it might cost way more than others, but in the end, we thought the prices were fitting with the kind of quality and service that we received.

We spent some time selecting fabrics and found two for jackets and only one for a shirt. Well, if you're paying that much, you don't want to just simply select any fabric and go with it. You have to feel really comfortable with your selection.

At the fitting.

As I mentioned before, Schrobbenmaster's parents had come down to KL for a few days. Naturally, Melaka was one of their chosen places to visit, so one day we headed down for a quick trip.

Christ Church Melaka, probably one of the country's most photographed buildings. This is a nice angle though. Without bleedin' tourists in it.

Man selling art prints.

On the top of the stairs of the Stadthuys - by the way, to clear things up, in easy-to-write English pronunciation, Stadthuys should sound like STUD-HOUS, it means city hall - there is a man selling prints of old drawings. There were a few different styles and we chose 5 for RM20. Pretty good deal for nice drawings of the city and landmarks.

On St Paul's hill. I think.

It was such a bleedin' hot day in Melaka that day. After taking photos here, we had to escape to some Pahlawan Mall or something like that. Sat in Starbucks, put Mopiko on mosquito bites and had some coffee and cake.

That's all for now, back to work! Groaannnnn...

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Me workin' out at the gym, man, yeah

Kekeke... I just saw that someone landed on my blog by searching for "Malay boobs".


I just came back from a workout at the gym. It's been YEARS since I've been to the gym downstairs. I've at least made a little use of the service fee I pay monthly to the condo. The last time I visited a gym was California Fitness in Mid Valley. A friend had VIP coupons to give out, so I had a month's access.

So I joined a hip hop dance class, which was quite fun. I always prefer dancing to working out. Repetitive movements just bore me. Funny though, that repetitive design is one of my favourite kind of designs. Go figure.

Anyway, working out was fine. Felt like fainting (okay, not quite so dramatic) when doing the Runmaster thingy. The one where you place your feet on the pedals and move like you're running and you hold the handles with your hands also moving back and forth. Tried to keep a constant speed and managed to reach 1km. That was my goal because by the time I reached 0.5km I was already panting like a sick dog. Very proud that I reached 1km running. Will try a bit more each time. It's actually quite an achievement for me because my stamina is incredibly bad. When I was still doing ballet weekly, it was improving noticeably (well, I did go for nearly five years). But once I stopped, whoosh! Bye bye, stamina.

Did some stretching as well, which felt good. Stretching always makes me feel nice. I hate sweating, which is why I hardly work out and do stretches, but I've been feeling like such a slob lately.

I think I'll reward myself with toast and butter now. Muahahahaha.

Oh yes, I wanted to say that slim people still have to work out in order to tone up. I was watching an old episode of Gastineau Girls, where the modelling agency told Brittny that she had to tone up. She's absolutely slim, but they wanted her toned. So it got me thinking, yeah, even though you're thin or slim, you still gotta have a nice muscle tone.

I really dislike seeing girls who aren't fat, in their office clothes, in those pants that hug your legs, and seeing that their legs are actually flabby and wobbly when they walk. Hello, girls, you may not be fat but you still look awful when your thighs are soft and wobble about in those tight pants. Not to mention that those kinda (cheap) pants usually come in thinner material that don't hold your legs in nicely.

I definitely don't wanna be one of the kinds of people I insult, so I decided to do something about my body before my ballet muscles completely disappear. I really hope I can find somewhere nice to dance in Rotterdam.

Oh gawd I hope I get my permit soon.