Monday, April 30, 2007

Sisters of My Heart

No, I don't have any sisters. The title is actually a book title by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni.

A good book, but not my normal lite Chic Lit Genre, a bit too heavy for me. But very good writing I must say. This is my second experience of her writings, I say experience because my first was via the DVD, Mistress Of Spice, starring Aishwarya Rai, oops pardon me, Aishwarya Bachan and Dylan McDermott. Such a beautiful film, it didn't have much story line to me, had some tragic scenes, but beautifully made nevertheless. I just love her spice shop and Dylan, sigh!

So this book, it is very well written in such a way that you could just imagine all the details that the characters are experiencing. And it had such an expected twist in the end, which is quite clever actually. The ending is good in a way, but I don't really like that kind of ending. What kind of ending? Well, you just gotta read it yourself. Wouldn't want to spoil the suspense.

Something from the website:


Divakaruni’s new novel is entitled Sister of My Heart. This book is about how the lives of two women are changed by marriage, as one woman comes to California, and the other stays behind in India.

Anju is the daughter of an upper-caste Calcutta family of distinction. Sudha is the daughter of the black sheep of that same family. Sudha is startlingly beautiful; Anju is not. Despite these differences, since the day the two girls were born—the same day their fathers died, mysteriously and violently—Sudha and Anju have been sisters of the heart. Bonded in ways even their mothers cannot comprehend, the two girls grow into womanhood as if their fates, as well as their hearts, are merged.

When Sudha learns a dark family secret, that connection is threatened. For the first time in their lives, the girls know what it is to feel suspicion and distrust—Sudha, because she feels a new shame that she cannot share with Anju; and Anju, because she discovers the seductive power of her sister’s beauty, a power Sudha herself is incapable of controlling. When, due to a change in family fortune, the girls are urged into arranged marriages, their lives take opposite turns. One travels to America, and one remains in India; both have lives of secrets. When tragedy strikes both of them, however, they discover that, despite distance and marriage, they must turn to each other once again.


Chapter 1

They say in the old tales that the first night after a child is born, the Bidhata Purush comes down to earth himself to decide what its fortune is to be. That is why they bathe babies in sandalwood water and wrap them in soft red malmal, color of luck. That is why they leave sweetmeats by the cradle. Silver-leafed sandesh, dark pantuas floating in golden syrup, jilipis orange as the heart of a fire, glazed with honey-sugar. If the child is especially lucky, in the morning it will all be gone.
“That’s because the servants sneak in during the night and eat them,” says Anju, giving her head an impatient shake as Abha Pishi oils her hair. This is how she is, my cousin, always scoffing, refusing to believe. But she knows, as I do, that no servant in all of Calcutta would dare eat sweets meant for a god.
The old tales say this also: In the wake of the Bidhata Purush come the demons, for that is the world’s nature, good and evil mingled. That is why they leave an oil lamp burning. That is why they place the sacred tulsi leaf under the baby’s pillow for protection. In richer households, like the one my mother grew up in, she has told us, they hire a brahmin to sit in the corridor and recite auspicious prayers all night.
“What nonsense,” Anju says. “There are no demons.”
I am not so sure. Perhaps they do not have the huge teeth, the curved blood-dripping claws and bulging red eyes of our Children’s Ramayan Picture Book, but I have a feeling they exist. Haven’t I sensed their breath, like slime-black fingers brushing my spine? Later, when we are alone, I will tell Anju this.
But in front of others I am always loyal to her. So I say, bravely, “That’s right. Those are just old stories.”
It is early evening on our terrace, its bricks overgrown with moss. A time when the sun hangs low on the horizon, half hidden by the pipal trees which line our compound walls all the way down the long driveway to the bolted wrought-iron gates. Our great-grandfather had them planted one hundred years ago to keep the women of his house safe from the gaze of strangers. Abha Pishi, one of our three mothers, has told us this.
Yes, we have three mothers—perhaps to make up for the fact that we have no fathers.
There’s Pishi, our widow aunt who threw herself heart-first into her younger brother’s household when she lost her husband at the age of eighteen. Dressed in austere white, her graying hair cut close to her scalp in the orthodox style so that the bristly ends tickle my palms when I run my hands over them, she’s the one who makes sure we are suitably dressed for school in the one-inch-below-the-knee uniforms the nuns insist on. She finds for us, miraculously, stray pens and inkpots and missing pages of homework. She makes us our favorite dishes: luchis rolled out and fried a puffy golden-brown, potato and cauliflower curry cooked without chilies, thick sweet payesh made from the milk of Budhi-cow, whose owner brings her to our house each morning to be milked under Pishi’s stern, miss-nothing stare. On holidays she plaits jasmine into our hair. But most of all Pishi is our fount of information, the one who tells us the stories our mothers will not, the secret, delicious, forbidden tales of our past.
There’s Anju’s mother, whom I call Gouri Ma, her fine cheekbones and regal forehead hinting at generations of breeding, for she comes from a family as old and respected as that of the Chatterjees, which she married into. Her face is not beautiful in the traditional sense—even I, young as I am, know this. Lines of hardship are etched around her mouth and on her forehead, for she was the one who shouldered the burden of keeping the family safe on that thunderclap day eight years ago when she received news of our fathers’ deaths. But her eyes, dark and endless-deep—they make me think of Kalodighi, the enormous lake behind the country mansion our family used to own before Anju and I were born. When Gouri Ma smiles at me with her eyes, I stand up straighter. I want to be noble and brave, just like her.
Lastly (I use this word with some guilt), there’s my own mother, Nalini. Her skin is still golden, for though she’s a widow my mother is careful to apply turmeric paste to her face each day. Her perfect-shaped lips glisten red from paan, which she loves to chew—mostly for the color it leaves on her mouth, I think. She laughs often, my mother, especially when her friends come for tea and talk. It is a glittery, tinkling sound, like jeweled ankle bells, people say, though I myself feel it is more like a thin glass struck with a spoon. Her cheek feels as soft as the lotus flower she’s named after on those rare occasions when she presses her face to mine. But more often when she looks at me a frown ridges her forehead between eyebrows beautiful as wings. Is it from worry or displeasure? I can never tell. Then she remembers that frowns cause age lines and smoothes it away with a finger.
Now Pishi stops oiling Anju’s hair to give us a wicked smile. Her voice grows low and shivery, the way it does when she’s telling ghost stories. “They’re listening, you know. The demons. And they don’t like little eight-year-old girls talking like this. Just wait till tonight . . .”
Because I am scared I interrupt her with the first thought that comes into my head. “Pishi Ma, tell no, did the sweets disappear for us?”
Sorrow moves like smoke-shadow over Pishi’s face. I can see that she would like to make up another of those outrageous tales that we so love her to tell, full of magic glimmer and hoping. But finally she says, her voice flat, “No, Sudha. You weren’t so lucky.”
I know this already. Anju and I have heard the whispers. Still, I must ask one more time.
“Did you see anything that night?” I ask. Because she was the one who stayed with us the night of our birth while our mothers lay in bed, still in shock from the terrible telegram which had sent them both into early labor that morning. Our mothers, lying in beds they would never again share with their husbands. My mother weeping, her beautiful hair tangling about her swollen face, punching at a pillow until it burst, spilling cotton stuffing white as grief. Gouri Ma, still and silent, staring up into a darkness which pressed upon her like the responsibilities she knew no one else in the family could take on.
To push them from my mind I ask urgently, “Did you at least hear something?”
Pishi shakes her head in regret. “Maybe the Bidhata Purush doesn’t come for girl-babies.” In her kindness she leaves the rest unspoken, but I’ve heard the whispers often enough to complete it in my head. For girl-babies who are so much bad luck that they cause their fathers to die even before they are born.
Anju scowls, and I know that as always she can see into my thoughts with the X-ray vision of her fiercely loving eyes. “Maybe there’s no Bidhata Purush either,” she states and yanks her hair from Pishi’s hands though it is only half-braided. She ignores Pishi’s scolding shouts and stalks to her room, where she will slam the door.
But I sit very still while Pishi’s fingers rub the hibiscus oil into my scalp, while she combs away knots with the long, soothing rhythm I have known since the beginning of memory. The sun is a deep, sad red, and I can smell, faint on the evening air, wood smoke. The pavement dwellers are lighting their cooking fires. I’ve seen them many times when Singhji, our chauffeur, drives us to school: the mother in a worn green sari bent over a spice-grinding stone, the daughter watching the baby, keeping him from falling into the gutter. The father is never there. Maybe he is running up a platform in Howrah station in his red turban, his shoulders knotted from carrying years of trunks and bedding rolls, crying out, “Coolie chahiye, want a coolie, memsaab?” Or maybe, like my father, he too is dead.
Whenever I thought this my eyes would sting with sympathy, and if by chance Ramur Ma, the vinegary old servant woman who chaperones us everywhere, was not in the car, I’d beg Singhji to stop so I could hand the girl a sweet out of my lunch box. And he always did.
Among all our servants—but no, I do not really think of him as a servant—I like Singhji the best. Perhaps it is because I can trust him not to give me away to the mothers the way Ramur Ma does. Perhaps it is because he is a man of silences, speaking only when necessary—a quality I appreciate in a house filled with female gossip. Or perhaps it is the veil of mystery which hangs over him.
When Anju and I were about five years old, Singhji appeared at our gate one morning—like a godsend, Pishi says—looking for a driver’s job. Our old chauffeur had recently retired, and the mothers needed a new one badly but could not afford it. Since the death of the fathers, money had been short. In his broken Bengali, Singhji told Gouri Ma he’d work for whatever she could give him. The mothers were a little suspicious, but they guessed that he was so willing because of his unfortunate looks. It is true that his face is horrifying at first glance—I am embarrassed to remember that as a little girl I had screamed and run away when I saw him. He must have been caught in a terrible fire years ago, for the skin of the entire upper half of his face—all the way up to his turban—is the naked, puckered pink of an old burn. The fire had also scorched away his eyebrows and pulled his eyelids into a slant, giving him a strangely oriental expression at odds with the thick black mustache and beard that covers the rest of his face.
“He’s lucky we hired him at all,” Mother’s fond of saying. “Most people wouldn’t have because that burned forehead is a sure sign of lifelong misfortune. Besides, he’s so ugly.”
I do not agree. Sometimes when he does not know that I am watching him, I have caught a remembering look, at once faraway and intent, in Singhji’s eyes—the kind of look an exiled king might have as he thinks about the land he left behind. At those times his face is not ugly at all, but more like a mountain peak that has withstood a great ice storm. And somehow I feel we are the lucky ones because he chose to come to us.
Once I heard the servants gossiping about how Singhji had been a farmer somewhere in Punjab until the death of his family from a cholera epidemic made him take to the road. It made me so sad that although Mother had strictly instructed me never to talk about personal matters with any of the servants, I ran out to the car and told him how sorry I was about his loss. He nodded silently. No other response came from the burned wall of his face. But a few days later he told me that he used to have a child.
Though Singhji offered no details about this child, I immediately imagined that it had been a little girl my age. I could not stop thinking of her. How did she look? Did she like the same foods we did? What kinds of toys had Singhji bought for her from the village bazaar? For weeks I would wake up crying in the middle of the night because I had dreamed of a girl thrashing about on a mat, delirious with pain. In the dream she had my face.
“Really, Sudha!” Anju would tell me, in concern and exasperation—I often slept in her room and thus the job of comforting me fell to her—“How come you always get so worked up about imaginary things?”
That is what she would be saying if she were with me right now. For it seems to me I am receding, away from Pishi’s capable hands, away from the solidity of the sun-warmed bricks under my legs, that I am falling into the first night of my existence, where Anju and I lie together in a makeshift cradle in a household not ready for us, sucking on sugared nipples someone has put in our mouths to keep us quiet. Anjali and Basudha, although in all the turmoil around us no one has thought to name us yet. Anjali, which means offering, for a good woman is to offer up her life for others. And Basudha, so that I will be as patient as the earth goddess I am named after. Below us, Pishi is a dark, stretched-out shape on the floor, fallen into exhausted sleep, the dried salt of tears crusting her cheeks.
The Bidhata Purush is tall and has a long, spun-silk beard like the astrologer my mother visits each month to find out what the planets have in store for her. He is dressed in a robe made of the finest white cotton, his fingers drip light, and his feet do not touch the ground as he glides toward us. When he bends over our cradle, his face is so blinding-bright I cannot tell his expression. With the first finger of his right hand he marks our foreheads. It is a tingly feeling, as when Pishi rubs tiger-balm on our temples. I think I know what he writes for Anju. You will be brave and clever, you will fight injustice, you will not give in. You will marry a fine man and travel the world and have many sons. You will be happy.
It is more difficult to imagine what he writes for me. Perhaps he writes beauty, for though I myself do not think so, people say I am beautiful—even more than my mother was in the first years of her marriage. Perhaps he writes goodness, for though I am not as obedient as my mother would like, I try hard to be good. There is a third word he writes, the harsh angles of which sting like fire, making me wail, making Pishi sit up, rubbing her eyes. But the Bidhata Purush is gone already, and all she sees is a swirl—cloud or sifted dust—outside the window, a fading glimmer, like fireflies.
Years later I will wonder, that final word he wrote, was it sorrow?

Hmmm enough to make you want to read the book??

Go get it at a bookstore nearest to you!!! he!he! wanna borrow mine? Sorry, no can do, I borrowed it myself.

Holidays and Sick Days

I have been very quite for quite sometime, cause nothing much has been happening. Yeah, after my “whirlwind birthday weekend”, things have been pretty quite at least on my side, because I have not been well. Nothing major but go on don’t stop putting the order for the Get well soon bouquet and helium balloon.

It all started the day on Wednesday, we all have been looking forward to the next Futsal practice. I was prepared, mentally and physically too. Monday, was never my exercise day but in order to have a one day rest before Wednesday, I made sure that I got myself to the gym for my normal workout. It’s usually 10 minutes on the rowing machine, and another 20-30 minutes of breeze walking (usually at 6km/hr) on the treadmill. I even put in a 5 minutes running in between the walking to ensure that I do not get anymore cramps when I’m in the futsal field.

No matter, how prepared you try to be, you just don’t know when it will hit you. After the necessary warm ups, (though now that I think about it, may have been greatly insufficient), we had to practice passing the ball from one to another. That was when it happened. Something just snapped in my right thigh! Wham! I’m like awww!!! What is this??? We haven’t even started playing yet. How sad is that? I stayed on though, and braved the next 40 minutes in grave pain. Only just staying away from where all the action was. Only managing a pathetic kick once a while, though, even when I tried kicking with my left leg, my left thigh still hurt soo bad. I didn’t bother leaving the field, cause I thought, I am already here, so I better get some exercise! It was only later I found out we were playing with extras, it was supposed to be only 5 aside including the goalie, we had like 6 aside. I could have just sit this practice out and watch them play. Apparently, Linda and Izam had the same cramps too. It felt like the muscle or nerve on my right thigh just snapped. The pain is nothing that I have experienced before.

It continued to hurt the next day too, thank goodness it was a public holiday, it was the King’s Inauguration Day. So I stayed home, limping around, nasib baik rumah kecik (just had to use Bahasa for this phrase!)! I guess the pain was so bad, that I felt sick. I actually had a temperature. This is not a virus infection that comes with a sore throat, runny nose and headaches. I just had a temperature, that’s why I am convinced that the fever was due to the muscle cramp. So that Friday at work, I told the girls I am pulling out of futsal, yeah, the star player has to leave. Boo hoo!!! I am sticking to my gym and yoga from now on. Nothing to ambitious, not anymore. I just cannot risk another muscle pull, cramp or whatever. What if there was no Public Holiday the next day, I cannot be taking Medical leave every Thursday??

So that was my Wed-Friday last week. I was actually looking forward for the weeked, this weekend cause it’s going to be a long weekend for me. Taking the Monday off too, plus another 2 public holidays, 1st May being the Labour Day and Wesak Day, with the 2nd as a replacement holiday. I have 5 glorious days at home eh, planning to go for a facial on Monday(today) since Nayli will be in school, I can leave a little earlier, before His Royal Highness wakes up from slumber, and come home just after she returns from school. Again, my plans did not materialize. Called my Facial Salon, found out the sad fact that, my favourite therapist is off on Mondays (only ever had her the last time which was the 1st time ever, so naturally I want her to do my face again). Currently they are fully booked Monday-Wednesday! Can you believe that? I thought no one goes to this place. Apparently they are more suckers out there besides me. In the name of indulgence, pampering oneself, tra la la la la. So I cannot get my facial today, but rest assured, I have been put on their waiting list for tomorrow or Wednesday. But, but I have a wedding tomorrow and made plans with Jack to take the kids to watch Spidey 3 on Wednesday, should we be able get to log on tgv's website! Something wrong with their line this couple of days. Hope, they will call me (the facial salon that is), and I will be able to run off for about 3 hours altogether for a facial.

So, where was I, yeah, my supposedly 5 glorious days of holidays well, I have been sick since Saturday afternoon. I don’t know what is wrong with me, I have been having this on and off runny nose and I feel slightly feverish all the time. Thank goodness, my facial today is cancelled. I am just too weak to drive anywhere. I would have wanted to go to IKEA, or even take the kids to the Toys R’US or somewhere. Oh, well there are still 2 more days. Hope I will feel much better tomorrow.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Birthdays & Food

This weekend is a birthday party weekend for me. 21st April, the Saturday was actually Jack’s birthday. We went to Delicious by Ms. Read @ Bangsar Village 2. I told Pat the plan, she saw right through me though, known her too long that’s why! She accused me of choosing the place for purely selfish reasons. But really, I chose the place because the both times I’ve eaten there, they were with her and I just wanted to share the experience with him. It is just an added bonus that I happened to love their Fried Calamari, Delicious Cheeseburger, Frosty Ice Lemon Tea and the Piece de Resistance (for me at least) … Berrilicous Chocolate Pavlova, as picture attached.
I was telling Jack about their Lamb Rack, so that was what he’s supposed to order. However, it was only available after 6p.m. How frustrating for him, pity the birthday boy, he had to settle for the Lambshank & Pie, which I know isn't really his kinda thing. Oh, well we just have to go again for dinner some other time. [Silently, yippee!!!].

What is it about this place, one thing I like the ambience and the food is good, what else is there to like about a restaurant. I can’t wait for their new branch. Read in the papers that they are moving to Bangsar Village 2, and the setting is supposed to be like a living room (home) setting. How cool is that? It will be even more impossible to get a table then, it is bad enough now.

After lunch we went straight to Klang, we’ve been invited to a BBQ that night. Yeah more good food. In the evening, after bathing the kids, I realized that I was suddenly wheezing. It did cross my mind while I was locking the doors in the afternoon before leaving the house to grab my inhaler and magnolia pure essential oil just in case I got a sinus attack or whatever, like the night before (the very night after the Karaoke) I was woken up many times cause I had severe runny nose, but it stopped after inhaling a few drops of the magnolia PEO. But, since I was already outside my door, going back in would mean unlocking the grill, the padlock at the grill and the wooden door. So mah fun!!!! So it serves me right, that evening I was wheezing without anything to help me counter the attack. Thank goodness it wasn’t past 7 yet. I rushed out with Nie, Jack’s cousin’s heavily pregnant wife, bless that girl, since she knew the way around Klang to hunt for an open clinic that accepts Mediclinic card. Jack was already starting to help with the BBQ so I didn’t want him to leave halfway. After 3-4 closed clinics, we finally spotted a 24 hr one, which is rather empty. After the normal forms and stuff, I was called in and was given the nebulizer immediately. That thing gives almost an immediate relief, so I managed to enjoy the BBQ after all. Sorry no pictures from the BBQ, I forgot. So unlike me huh! I guess I was to pre-occupied and rather tired after all the day’s excitement, what with not getting enough sleep the night before, plus, I was heavily drugged in the evening too, with the neb and what ever stuff the doctor gave me. I couldn’t muster any enthusiasm, to join the rest to watch the AF concert. By 10’ish, I hid in the spare room given to us for changing and slept. Jack woke me up at about midnight to go home.

The morning after, since Mis is away at her cousin’s, I welcomed the fact that we will not awaken by her vacuuming, so we all managed to sleep in rather later then usual, which is just so good to catch up on my sleep finally. Nayli was the one who finally woke me up though, cause she was hungry and wanted cereals.

After a late breakfast of toasts with butter and jam and French toasts for the kids and dad, it was already time to get ready for the next birthday party for the weekend. Yeah, I lead such a busy, hectic life, party! party! party! It’s Azleen’s son Aiman’s 4th Birthday at Mc Donald’s Taman Conaught. I know the name, but have no clue whatsoever where it is. Which is a good thing, so Jack had to follow to take us there, he! He! He was already like, “… don’t you know that Birthday Parties are for ladies and kids only?”. So I pretended I didn’t hear him and just busied myself getting the kids ready and praying in my heart, please come along, please come along, please just get dressed and just let’s go!!! Please! Please! Please! Pretty please! Thank god for small favours. As in my hubby shares the kids’ fascination with Mc Donalds, the food I mean. So, ok lah, he’s was ok in the end.

Besides the compulsory Secret Recipe Birthday Cake, Azleen ordered the made-to-order Cupcakes from the entrepreneurs in the website that has been circulating around lately. The cakes were absolutely beautiful, felt like so so sayang to touch them let alone consume them. It should just be there laid out in the box as it arrived. Check out what I mean below.

It’ll be nice to have them for Nayli’s birthday eh! After the party, we stayed on a bit cause the kids wanted to play at the playground which happens to be only one miserable slide. But that apparently was enough to amuse them for about half an hour or so. Finally we left and reached home at about 6.30. Jack immediately took on the task of bathing the 2 over excited kids, thank goodness. After Asar prayers, I started immediately on dinner, food again? Yes, cause in the morning I already planned to cook the Instant Beriyani, since I already thawed the chicken and the Beriyani Pastes, so had to do it. Luckily, my maid came home on time, to help with the bawang goreng and cleaning up. Most important! We had dinner a little late, after Isya’ which is just as well since our lunch was at 4:30 p.m! The rice turned out a bit mushy, I forgot about the watery paste, I shouldn’t have added the little bit of extra water when boiling the rice. The acar mentah was quite good, I used the Japanese cucumber since that was all that I had, and pineapple from a can. Ok, lah with mustard seeds lagi! But overall ok, since Jack tambah 2/3 kali so it must be ok lah kan? After dinner, downloaded photos from the camera, watch a bit of Single White Female 2. Didn’t watch till the end cause I thought the actors and actresses plus the acting were a wee bit B Grade. Packed my handbag for the next day, and got ready for bed. Zarif somehow was still awake, (Nayli dozed off the minute her head hit the pillows), lepak with me in our bed watching his Cartoon Network, eventually dozed off don’t know what time that was already. So that was my food and party infested weekend. Can’t wait till next weekend.

Friday, April 20, 2007


We use to be followers of the AF diaries and concerts, from the AF1 till even last year's AF4. Well, I say followers in the sense that we try to watch the diaries as often as possible each weekday nights and the concerts on Saturday. If you have never been hooked on these AF thingy, let me tell you this, if you do have been following the diaries in a particular week, you kinda want to know how the contestants fare on the real concert night with the costume and bright lights. So you will definitely stay in on Saturday nights and watch the concerts. The last 4 years, during the AF season, I am shameful to admit that I do plan my Saturdays around this concert time. Though sometimes you can't really afford to miss your friend's wedding or some relative's kenduri... you know what I mean right? And of course there'll be the discussion during breakfast on Monday morning at work with the girls. You know, things like; did we expect the contestant who were voted the least and gets to roll the flight attendant bag last Saturday night really deserved it; or was his or her clothes nice or suitable for her performance etc etc. I never was an AF fanatic, never the ones who actually vote. This year however is quite a let down. I just cannot bring myself to watch the AF anymore. I don't care about the diaries and not even the concert. Don't even know the contestants this time around. I know whether the contestants are just so not as talented as before or I guess 4 years is the maximum number of years that one could follow a reality show. The same goes with the American Idol, tried to follow the season this year but... I just can't. The Daughtry factor is just isn't there. By the way as I am typing this very sentence I have Daughtry singing in the background. This guy is something else eh? Ok, I better stop and not deviate from my original topic in mind. Chris Daughtry deserves a complete full posting, at a later date perhaps.

Now, where was I, oh yes! The fact that I am not following AF or American Idol this year. Since we are so not into watching people sing or at least try their best to sing, we decided, well actually the singing enthusiasts in my office thought it is about time we have another "TML Idol" (Talisman Malaysia Limited Idol). The last time we had one which was really my very debut to a Karaoke Lounge was perhaps about the same time last year. Imagine that, so you can just imagine how crazy we got at the idea of going again. Me, well I am not that into singing. Just never had the voice to sing those high notes. The only reason they excepted me into the Drama & Choir Society back then in school was perhaps I was good in acting and half of my close buddies are in the society already. If it were for my singing alone bet they wouldn't have allowed me anywhere near the stage!

Anyhow, we suddenly found ourselves to be available to stay on in KL after work yesterday. The previous Thursday afternoon, we had Fida started the email invite to see how many PCD wannabes are interested to join us. The response we got, was amazing! We were shooting emails at each other at such an alarming speed that when Linda was away from her desk like about 2 minutes she had like 16 emails to catch up. Norlina claimed that she was in a mad state to clear the Northern Field issues (don't bother to understand, if you are a non TML), but these emails that keep popping up, you know the 5 seconds email splashes at the corner of the screen, that you get each time an email enters your mailbox, so that you don't really need to be opening you Microsoft Outlook, to get the gist of who just emailed and what the email is abt.), you just cannot ignore it, no matter how busy or screwed up your brains are with the current worksheet(worksheets in the case of our Economists) you will read the damn pop ups. Maisura came to my place at one point hissing, could you all stop the emails already, I am getting my excel sheet links all wrong cause I'm singing... I think we're alone now (Tiffany) while doing my work. Ha! ha! ha! Tough luck. Me and Izam, well we are kinda like taking a sabatical even if it's only for a day or two. Never knew that a reforecast excercise could leave me feeling so tired. I just have no energy to work on my next thing to be done on my To Do List. I was recuperating on Thursday so I really welcomed the distraction even by way of those crazy conversations via emails.

So to cut the long chain of "emails" short. It was decided that there'll be about 8 or 9 of us going. There were 2 email contributors that Thursday afternoon who never had the intention of joining us yesterday. Azleen just don't do things after work other then her netball sessions and Linda well our Dato' of Cuti-cuti Malaysia (recently moved one up one notched to be Dato' of Tourism of any Air Asia Destinations, not limited to M'sia, why we call her Dato' perhaps another posts I'll tell you about it, long story) had her "back to Melaka once a month" trip scheduled.

I decided to drive to work yesterday cause Jack had to go to Perak and won't be back till late. So I figured, it'll be too scarry to go back by LRT should we finish at 9'nish like the last session. On the way to City Square from our office, it started pouring. not just Spitter Spatter rainfall, but major downpour, and suddenly beep! went my phone indicating a message. Thought it was from one of the girls in the cars I'm following in front, but it wasn't! It was noneother then Azleen, won't join us but let's be funny (nicer word for b*#&@? don't cha think?) instead Azleen. Her message was, "... eh belum start croaking dah hujan?". E ee leeee!!!! Sibukkkk!!!! So, I went like, hello!!!! obviously the rain isn't from our singing then!!!!

So there we were, I let those 60's babies choose their songs first. I tend to get a wee bit shy when we just arrive. Don't know why. I need sometime to warm up to wanting to choose a song and grab the mike. So, at first I order food. Maggie Noodle in a Cup, Curry flavour is a must cause the hot of the noodle cup offsets the chillness of the room. Plus, you kind of eat it in semi-darkness so, so what right? Well, actually I am the sort of person who loves eating maggie but just feel so damn guilty about eating it each time. So eating in the darkness is as if noone can see it ... so ... heck I don't know. I'm not going to explain any further. Ok, maggie and fries. Forgot the nice chicken wings that we ordered last year. Fidah, brought along Roti Arab with Chicken Curry, and we we brought along with us cans of drink from the ...... . Norlina, the mak yong, as in Mak Buyong (pregnant momma), though she can also me called Mak Yong, referring to Mak Yong the Kelantanse "Mak Yong" cause she loves singing and dancing (her dream job was to become a traditional dancer but she became and Engineer instead) and she can tell long long stories, brought a whole 1 ltr of Marigold Juice! Nak pergi memekik ke, nak pergi mencekik. Obviously from the spread on the table when all the food came, we went there to do both! Hey, how can we sing if our stomachs were also croaking eh??? Come on, where's your common sense?

Where was ours when we chose the songs to sing??? My god, Siti Nurhaliza's soppy songs... who has the vocal chords to sing the chorus for her songs??? Well, some of us thought they had... Thank god, Simon Cowell wasn't in the room. I mean even Paula Abdul wouldn't be able to find a nice word to "compliment" some of our singing.

The 60's (as in born in the 60's) ladies were a bit worried when I warmed up towards the whatever you call the computer thingy for you to choose the songs. They were afraid last year's incident (which they still bring up each opportunity they get) where I have chosen a long lists of 80s singers which really weren't their cup of tea and deleted their choices of Broery Marantika's ballads. You have to agree with me, come on isn't I should be so Lucky by Kylie Minogue such a fun cute karaoke song to sing? Besides you don't have to have Siti Nurhaliza's vocal chords to carry this number unlike if you're singing Widuri or the likes right??? Thank goodness they are ok with Madonna's 80s numbers or else I just wouldn't have anything to sing, just it down in the corner of the horseshoe shaped couched in the cold sipping my pot noodle.

Last year Fida hasn't joined us yet. So, this year she brought a fresh new feel to our KTV group. A fresh new feel as in this time we had dangdhut numbers in our choice of songs and we have a head banger and also someone who's probably high on something if not drugs to be on the sofa like 40% of the time. Another new addition is Zila our new dept secretary yeah, the same girl with the new Nike Futsal Shoes and Ilme from Finance, another KTV buff I reckon from her confidence with the mike. Not forgetting G-Ha from Drilling group, gosh this woman can make many voices and can she grunts. The other usuals (cewah, like real) are Maisura, Norlina of course, Izam, and Mel.

Unlike last year's session when we all left at about 9 nish, I left a little earlier this time, cause I promised Zila I'd give her a ride half way. Excuse, or I would have stayed on!!! I begged her to stay on for Like a prayer (Madonna) and for my grand Finale Dancing Queen (ABBA), not quite my era but hey if I can sing it at mid-tone range, I love the song babe! So ladies thanks for the rare, good, let our hair down or tudung time! Will pay my share of the thingy on Mon first thing ok. Till the next time, just hope it isn't next year till the next one.

Blogthings - Are You a Morning Person or Night Person?

Have you ever wondered about this fact? Try it out and see...

Slow Down Culture

What you are about to read is something that was forwarded to our whole dept from our boss.
Pretty ironic coming from you Razzi, he!he! please remember this article you sent us, the next time you are creeping up my desk to check on my progress for a particular project. :-) Peace!
An interesting reflection: Slow Down Culture.
It's been 18 years since I joined Volvo, a Swedish company. Working for them has proven to be an interesting experience. Any project here takes 2 years to be finalized, even if the idea is simple and brilliant. It's a rule.Globalized processes have caused in us (all over the world) a general sense of searching for immediate results. Therefore, we have come to posses a need to see immediate results. This contrasts greatly with the slow movements of the Swedish. They, on the other hand, debate, debate, debate, hold numerous meetings and work with a slowdown scheme. At the end, thisalways yields better results.
Some information before we proceed:
1.Sweden is about the size of San Pablo, a state in Brazil.
2.Sweden has 2 million inhabitants.
3.Stockholm, has 500,000 people.
4.Volvo, Scania, Ericsson, Electrolux, are some of its renowned companies
5.Volvo supplies NASA.
The first time I was in Sweden, one of my colleagues picked me up at the hotel every morning. It was September, bit cold and snowy. We would arrive early at the company and he would park far away from the entrance (2000 employees drive their car to work). The first day, I didn't say anything, either the second or third.
One morning I asked, "Do you have a fixed parking space? I've noticed we park far from the entrance even when thereare no other cars in the lot." To which he replied, "Since we're here early we'll have time to walk, and whoever gets in late will be late and need a place closer to the door. Don't you think?” Imagine my face.
Nowadays, there's a movement in Europe name Slow Food. This movement establishes that people should eat and drink slowly, with enough time to taste their food, spend time with the family, friends, without rushing. Slow Food is the antithesis of its counterpart: the spirit of Fast Food and what it stands for as a lifestyle. Slow Food is the basis for a bigger movement called Slow Europe, which was recently mentioned by Business Week.Basically, the movement questions the sense of "hurry" and "craziness" generated by globalization, fueled by the desire of "having in quantity"(life status) versus "having with quality": "life quality" or the "quality of being".
Some interesting stats- again:
French people, even though they work 35 hours per week, are more productive than Americans or British.
Germans have established 28.8 hour workweeks and have seen their productivity been driven up by 20%.
This “slow attitude” has attracted the US' attention, the most avid pupils of the fast and the "do it now!" school of thought.This no-rush attitude doesn't represent doing less or having a lower productivity. It means working and doing things with greater quality, productivity, perfection, with attention to detail and less stress. It means reestablishing family values, friends, free and leisure time. Taking the "now", present and concrete, versus the "global", undefined and anonymous.
It means appreciating every human being’s essential values through the simplicity of living. It stands for a less coercive work environment, happier, lighter and more productive where humans enjoy doing what they know best how to do. It's time to stop and think on how companies need to develop serious quality without rushing : this will increase productivity and the quality of products and services, without losing the essence of spirit.
In the movie, Scent of a Woman, there's a scene where Al Pacino asks a girl to dance and she replies, "I can't, my boyfriend will be here any minute now". To which Al responds, "A life is lived in an instant". Then they dance to a tango.
Many of us live our lives trying to catch up with time, but the irony is we only catch up with it when we die of a heart attack or in a car accident rushing to be on time. Others are so anxious of living the future that they forget to live the present, which is the only time that truly exists. We all have equal time throughout the world. No one has more or less. The difference lies in how each one of us does with our time. We need to live each moment. As John Lennon said, "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans".
Congratulations for reading till the end of this message. There are many who would have stopped in the middle so as not to waste time in this globalized world.
Now wasn't that a beautiful and meaningful article. Makes you just sigh, and say if only everyone can practice this culture especially those rushing for the only one seat in the LRT in the morning to work or those cramming to be in the fastest moving lane on the MRR2. Hhhhhuuuuhhh!! Double, triple sigh!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Gol & Gincu

Our Social And Recreational Club in the office is rather active nowadays. We have all sorts of clubs at the moment. Badminton, Biathlon/Triathlon/Cycling, Field Hockey, Netball, Squash, Outdoor Adventure, Outdoor Soccer/Futsal. Only, tennis has no representative yet. I would love to play tennis again. That would be nice. If someone starts a tennis club, I would have to fish out my tennis racket out of my mom’s store room at her house though, and not to mention get myself a new pair of tennis shoes. Lot’s of extra expenses. Hmm perhaps I should just stick to what I just started yesterday wehey!!!! That’s where I’m getting at here.
Yesterday, for the first time evvah in my entire 32 odd years of life (still young if I can say so myself) I was introduced to the game of futsal. No kidding! I played futsal! I know, so Gol & Gincu. We played at Sports Seven in Wangsa Maju. I never knew there was a Futsal Stadium there. We were amongst the 1st to arrive, me, Izam, Linda and our Zila (as opposed to Zila, Planning). Did our stretches and necessary warm ups while waiting for the rest to arrive. Zila even had a new pair of shoes just for futsal, Nike no less. The worse thing is she got it for a song (the secret is, it is from the children’s department).
Maisura was supposed to join us, she even went as far as purchasing a pair of new outfit for yesterday but later in the afternoon, she received a phone call that her grandma was admitted into Pantai Med Center so she had to visit her and missed our inauguration to the Futsal Field. We came equiped with refreshments! We were there at about 5:30p.m. The coach arrived at about 6, he gave a short lesson, rules and regulations on the game since no one has played this game apart from 7 odd people who came for the 1st practice last week. So after about half an hour of practice, dribble, passing the ball etc etc… we were already tired. Seriously, man talk about hard work!

OK, so at about 6:30, we started playing the real thing. My, my as I said earlier, this game is hard work, no kidding. After maybe 20 minutes, no let’s get real maybe after 5 minutes into the game I stopped chasing the ball. If it doesn’t come to me, go ahead… be my guest you won’t see me trying to out-run you to get it. We were a bit on the disadvantage side cause we were outnumbered by the other team not to mention, the other team were all below 20!!!! No, actually there was this TML staff’s daughter who is as big as the coach, knows abt futsal not (from watching Gol & Gincu) and most of all, she is only 15 years old. Martina, you are sooo in my team next week! In the end by 6:55, we asked to stop the game cause we were all practically drenched in sweat, huffing and puffing for air and most importantly DYING!!! But I must say, it’s pretty addictive. The way we sweat phew, we must have lost 10 gazillion calories. I've even filled up the registration form for the futsal club. Guess, I'm in... unless I'm pregnant next month. Then they just would have to do without the star player for the next 11 months. Ha!ha!

Planning Away Day

Lost in transit - I learnt my lesson the hard way, twice. I have been writing for over 40 minutes and suddenly the system just crashed and I lost my post, even before saving it.
Aaaaaaah!!!! Now, I'm writing again.... let's see what did put down just now.

Actually I was writing about our Away Day. Planning Department Away Day. Last year we only managed to join the Finance Dept for a Go-kart outing. That was fun, at that time, there were only 6 of us I think, so it really didn’t justify for us to have an away day of our own. Besides what fun is there if there were only 6 of us anyway. So this year since we had a couple of new joiners and there were 2 mgmt trainees from the Reservoir group in our dept, Razzi thought that it is timely that we had one. Besides, we had a rather disastrous Operating Plan Cycle last year, he thought that we should sit down and try to brain-storm some ideas as how to improve our work processes this year. I am not going to ramble on about what we discussed on Operating Plan or WPB or whatever….

Here’s the agenda… we even have a theme mind you!

Function : Planning and Analysis, Away Day
Day and date : Thursday, 12 April 2007
Venue : Park View 2,
L2, MOKL (Mandarin Oriental)
Time : 8.30am to 5.00pm
Theme : Denim Day
Agenda : 1. Opening Speech
2. Games 1 - Ice Breaker
3. Discussion 1 – WP & B Cycle
4. Morning break
5. Discussion 2 – Operating Plan Cycle
6. Games 2 - Winking
7. Lunch
8. Discussion 3 – Year End Cash Flows
9. Games 3 - Passing the Parcel
10. Afternoon break
11. Planning dept. activities
12. Games 4 – Decryption
13. Games 5 – Throw Shoes
Event End

The 1st game – there were 2 Ice breakers. You know to get people in the mood, to relax and not be so stiff and nervous at the impending session that were to follow.

1st Ice breaker -


Objective: Each person in the group tells something they've never done both good or bad. If you've done it you give up a penny or jelly bean. Try to keep as many as possible. In our case we were provided with mini snickers, smarties and mentos.

Game type: Passive. Little or no movement is required.

Players: 6 or more players. The wackier group the better.

Needed: Pennies or small objects such as jelly beans, Cherrios etc (10 or 15 for everyone)

Rules: Each person receives several (10 or 15 is a good number) pennies, jellybeans or similar small objects. The group sits in a circle. Each person tells of something they have never done. Anyone who has done this must give the speaker one of their pennies or whatever. After going around the circle twice, the person with the most tokens wins.

Caution: Often the women will choose items targeted at men (I've never shaved my face") and men at the women (I've never worn mascara). Therefore it is best to either ensure that the group sits with men and women alternated or to ask the group to avoid sex related statements and go with more generic statements.


1. I have never broken a bone
2. I have never traveled out of the country.
3. I have never eaten Thai food.
4. I have never changed a flat tire.
5. I have never worn high heels.
6. I have never seen the statue of liberty in person.
7. I have never been in jail.
8. I have never had wine.

What we had was amongst others:

I have never been out of Malaysia – Zila (the winner!)
I have never ran a half marathon – Razzi.
I have never been to the US – Izam.
I have never been pregnant – Jamil (so duuuhhhh!)
I have never kissed a Malaysian – Tra.
I have never studied in the UK – Norlina.
I have never been seen without my headscarf after 18 years old – Me.
And plenty more, bottom line is we had a hilarious time.

2nd Ice breaker -


Objective: Have you done something from this list of silly things. If so you score a point! How many points will you score?

Rules: Read this list to all player. Score one point for each one you have done. The player with the most points wins!

The list: (an example)

1. Locked yourself out of the house?
2. Lost a member of the family while out shopping?
3. Put something unusual in the refrigerator?
4. Turned white colors pink (or another color) in the wash?
5. Gone away from your home and left the iron on?
6. Put your heel through the hem of a dress?
7. Had your zipper break in public?
8. Gone somewhere with two different shoes or socks on?
9. Remembered an appointment after it was too late?
10. Called a member of the family by another name?
11. Been ready to bathe and found no hot water?
12. Fallen up the stairs?
13. Gone shopping for groceries and discovered you did not bring any money with you?
14. Driven away from somewhere while a member of your party was still out of the car?
15. Dialed a phone number and forgot who you called?
16. Locked the keys in your car?
17. Got into the car to go somewhere and forgot where you were going?
18. Put something in the oven to bake and forgot about it?

Our version :

Have you ever fallen asleep while taking bath?
Have you ever fallen down the stairs in public and everybody laughing at you like crazy ?
Have you ever fart in public and everybody stared at you ?
Have you ever fallen in the toilet bowl and one of your leg got stuck ?
Have you ever thought of something funny and started laughing out loud in the presence of others?
Have you ever ripped off your pants during meeting presentation ?
Have you ever holding somebody hand by mistake in front of your wife/husband ?
Have you ever put something unusual in the microwave ?
Have you ever gone somewhere with two different shoes ?
Have you ever gone shopping and discovered that all your credit cards blocked and you have no money, people queuing behind screaming at you ?
Have you ever got your car broken in the middle of bad traffic jam and you have no phone with you ?
Have you ever locked yourself outside the house ?
Have you ever fallen from the chair during meeting ?
Have you ever got into a wrong seminar room and only realizing it after 10 mins. ?
Have you ever dialed a phone number and forgot who you called ?

The winner was Goh, he scored the highest and number 3 was one of the ticked ones. Imagine that.
2nd game -


Objective: A group game where a murderer kills other players with a wink or blink.

Rules: Decide up front whether a murder “gives himself away” by winking or blinking or both. Put one piece of paper in a bowl for each player and mark one with an 'X'. Have someone take the bowl around and have each player take one, look at it and then replace it in the bowl. The player with the X is the murderer. And the person who gets the “DETECTIVE” is of course the detective to identify/guess the murderer. Everybody else including the murderer walks around the room, whether in uniform order or not. The murderer then tries to kill the others by blinking or winking at them. We decided that the victim will not be killed and out of the game since there were just the 12 of us. The victim will just need to give a little shout when they get blinked. There were also yelping and barking at some point.

Guessing: The detective try to guess who the murderer is from the body or eye signals of those “murdered” and has 3 guesses.

Winning: The winner is the detective who guessed the murderer the fastest.

Quite interesting to have a roomful of adults yelping away and playing sort of a police n thief thing from the school days but of course a bit milder.

The 3rd game -


Objective: Unwrap a prize but instead of the prize you might get a dare. Are you willing to risk it?

Game type: Passive. Little or no movement is required. – Errrm not so if you get a dare like… dance a traditional dance or dance like DOREMON.

Needed: Prize Tissue or wrapping paper Dares on notecards or pieces of candy

The 5th game -


Objective: Work as individuals or teams to figure out the encoded phrases represented as graphics. Fun for a quick ice breaker activity!

Ice Breakers
Game type:
Passive. Little or no movement is required.
2 or more players.
Needed: Print outs (see below) and pencils for everyone

Rules: For groups less than 5, play as individuals. Otherwise form small working teams. Hand out one print out per individual or team. You must decode the phrase represented in the graphics. See below for an example. Answers to all fifteen phrases are below.

This was what we had for ours:

The final game -


Objective: Two teams race to dig through the pile of shoes for their own. A fun relay race.

However, we played this as an individual game. So, everyone race to win.

Game type: Active. A lot of movement may be required.

Rules: Two or more teams of about 10 - 15 players remove both their shoes and place them in one big pile about 15 feet away. The shoes must be mixed up so no one shoe is easily recognizable. Two or more teams line up and each player at the top of the line runs to the pile, must find his or her shoes, put them on, laced and buckled and run back to their next team mate, next team mate does the same until the team who finishes first wins.

Variation: You can have each team member only find and put on one shoe and then run to the back of their team's line. When it's their turn again, they must now find and put on the other shoes. This makes the game move a bit faster.


Objective: Have you done something from this list of silly things. If so you score a point! How many points will you score?

Baby Showers, Bridal Showers, Ice Breakers
Game type:
Passive. Little or no movement is required.
2 or more players.
Needed: Paper. Pencils

Rules: Read this list to all player. Score one point for each one you have done. The player with the most points wins!

The list: 1. Locked yourself out of the house?
2. Lost a member of the family while out shopping?
3. Put something unusual in the refrigerator?
4. Turned white colors pink (or another color) in the wash?
5. Gone away from your home and left the iron on?
6. Put your heel through the hem of a dress?
7. Had your zipper break in public?
8. Gone somewhere with two different shoes or socks on?
9. Remembered an appointment after it was too late?
10. Called a member of the family by another name?
11. Been ready to bathe and found no hot water?
12. Fallen up the stairs?
13. Gone shopping for groceries and discovered you did not bring any money with you?
14. Driven away from somewhere while a member of your party was still out of the car?
15. Dialed a phone number and forgot who you called?
16. Locked the keys in your car?
17. Got into the car to go somewhere and forgot where you were going?
18. Put something in the oven to bake and forgot about it?

For more info and ideas for games check out this website…

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Old friends

After so long, someone from my Uni circle of friends decided on meeting up for lunch. A kind of mini re-union for the girls only. Since we can only have it on a Friday. They decided early on that it would be Dim Sum @ Spring Garden, KLCC. Amazingly most of us are from around KLCC area apart from CT, poor soul came all the way from PJ, Nina, K-bott and me are in the same building, imagine that. Don't know why we didn't do it more often. We have too lah, it was such good fun. It is very refreshing to see old familiar faces from gosh, it must be ten years ago. The food was good too. I was right smacked in the middle of the April Reforecast exercise so was totally blur about the details of our meeting until the 11th hour so to say. I new abt Spring Garden, KLCC and roughly the attendees but once I was there beginning to order, Nina told me that we are having Dim Sum. I panicked cause I never have this good relationship with prawns. Especially tiny small ones, futher more mashed and crushed ones in Dim Sum dishes. I normally gets this weird allergy after meal reaction. Not rashes on the hands and a litlle itchiness here and there, I'm talking about ultimate stomach intolerance that would normally results in ultimate stomach pain, and the last resort would be a show down in the toilet bowl. Eeew just the thought of that, scares me sometimes. Steamboat meals and crabs give me the same effect too. Shame really since I quite like steamboat and crabs. Though I know I'm ok with expensive prawns and he!he! lobsters! Yeah, yeah I know, sooo mengada! I get that all the time, whatever! I didn't choose to be this way. It's my tummy, really!!!

So check out my pictures with the gals from yonder years at UKC.

Abah's 60th Birthday Hi Tea

My father just celebrated his 60th birthday recently. We decided to take him for hi-tea. Mom decided on Crowne Plaza Hotel [the old Hilton] The spread was good there were not too many people. Incidentally it was Easter Sunday, so they had some activities for kiddies, which were just nice for the kids. In the end we ended up overstaying, and kind of over-celebrated rather than the birthday boy. Anyhow, nothing much to say apart for Happy Birthday Abah, and many happy returns of the day. I love you to bits.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

BBQ Poolside Party

The finance dept kindly once again has invited us fr Planning to join them for a BBQ party by the poolside last Thursday. Wasn't sure in the beginning to attend. As it was on a Thursday, not just a Thurs-Day, Thursday my Yoga Day. Ever since I started about 2-3 months back, I have been very very particular about Thurs-Days. Anyone can change my plans, pursuade me to change my plans any hour of the day on Thurs-Days, but come 6-7p.m, I am untouchable by anyone. Religiously at that time of the day, I'd be sweating it out in a variety of Yoga poses, in the quest for a healthy body, mind and spirit. But the one of the main thing that makes me stick it out through the Sun Salutation etc etc is really the thought of the last 15 minutes of meditation, during the cooling down session. It is really good to be flat on my back after 4 minutes of trying to become a stiff contortionist, so lovely to be twisting from side to side and ust unwinding especially after a long day at the office, with the soothing yoga music on... breathing in and out... in and our... hhmmmmm..... phuuuuuuuu...... aaaahhhh.

Oh, but really Yoga wasn't my point of entry today. The BBQ party, right because of this invite and the lure of BBQ-ed chicken curteousy of En Sharif Shukor farm's 2nd harvest.

After 2 days of contemplation, I finally decided that my body and soul will not be gravely harmed due to a deprivation of an hour of Yoga Class after all. So we set off to Rosman's condo in Villa Puteri behind The Mall as he has generously offered his condo's poolside area to have the BBQ. Food was mainly provided for y Fidah's catering company, well actually her husband works with the caterer part-time. This is not the first time we have used their services, and once again they did not dissapoint us. Besides, the mandatory surprise! surprise! BBQ-ed chicken, with a lovely brown sauce (that Fidah claimed was too tiresome to make that she couldn't even bothered to even list the ingredients in it) we had nasi goreng, coleslaw, baked potato, wobbly jell-o and fruits. Yum!yum! What more do you need? The finance group had a lucky draw well-planned out too, with really interesting prizes. It was a good laugh for everyone who won when the unwrapped their pressies. Even yours truly here, won something too. Amazing I know! Will wonders never cease?

I almost forgot, they even had a tiny awards ceremony. Best Book-keeper of the Year, Accountant of the Year and Best Newcomer of the year. Scroll down to check out the winners.