Tuesday, December 30, 2008

So Long, Farewell



It's the end.
I can taste it.
It's no longer something in the future; the reality of it more tangible than ever.

I turn to stare at its once beautiful face, now withered and ugly.
And I weep. Oh, how I weep!
Its bodice; scarred and rough, proof of when it had stood, unmoving, suffering blow after blow.
Despite the agony, it had stood tall, as far as possible.
Yes, admittedly, there were times when it had bent so low, I swear it would break. I even anticipate hearing the crack, louder than thunder, and I close my ears to it.
But it surprises you, it does. For it does not break.

It has weathered storms, ceaseless rain; thunder and lightning have both left their mark on it.
Marks that are sometimes not even visible to the naked eye; that are not merely on the surface, but are cuts and wounds that are too deep for any one person to see even with closer inspection.

I sit thoughtful, reflective, at its feet. I close my eyes to better concentrate on what was important.
I remember days when everything was just right; the wind was a teasing hand caressing my smooth cheek, when the clouds billowed past like fluffy rolls of cotton candy, when the Mighty Sun smiled on everything below and forced whatever clouds with evil intentions to stay far enough away.
Even with everything so perfect, my focus returns to it.

Standing tall and majestic, its hands waving in time with the gentle breeze; a dance that only it can comprehend; a dance of life.
Its scars then, do not look as gruesome, and those that I can only guess how deep they are, seem to fade from my mind. I can even forget what it has gone through to be where it is at this very moment; to be what it is now.
Only God knows how far it has come.

Many things are unpredictable.

A storm attack, one unlike any that had ever come before.
Black ominous clouds conquered the skies, until it seemed there was never a day when it was clear and blue.
Lightning flashed and struck wherever it liked, destructive in its vicious hatred. Thunder crashed; angry, revengeful.
It could not help it; its feet trembled and shook.
The fear that gripped it was certainly something it would never experience again. Such fear was almost as terrifying as what loomed before it.
But the most terrifying of all, was that it knew it was helpless against what was to come. Knowing that everything it had endured thus far, had not, and could not, prepare it for such a circumstance.
12 months of its existence in this world, 12 months of having the chance to enjoy, to suffer, to be hurt, sad, and also happy. To have a chance to live.

It knew then, that it would fall.
It was time.

I weep once more. I weep for all the joy it had had, the suffering and hurt it had survived.
Will this be the end? Will it be no more?

Its last breath is like a kiss upon my forehead. I close my eyes and know that it is over.

But when I open my eyes, right there, at its feet, is a tiny sapling. Its child, its inheritance, legacy.
Its future.

I smile.

A fresh start. A new beginning.
A new life.

Happy New Year everyone!
Tuck our memories of the joy and the pain of 2008 safely in our minds; and look forward to a new beginning, a fresh start in Year 2009.

Cooking Catastrophe

History
Cooking and me has never been in a single sentence before.
Cooking catastrophe and me -- countless times.
Although, to be fair, I rarely cook.
Okay, again, I lie (this is really becoming a habit!!).

I NEVER cook.

Ask my mum. She'll be glad to testify to that (think rigorous nodding of the head and going "Uh-huh" and "Definitely!")

Successful previous cooking attempts?
Hm.
Water. (Well, technically it's not cooking but I just want the list to look a wee bit longer)
Maggi Mee.
Egg omelette.
Oh, and that thing with little bits of those things and yeah, with a dash of that other thing too.
You know?
Okay, ran out of things that I could remember cooking. So scratch that last one. ;P

Despite my "vast" experiences in cooking, I decided to give it one more try anyway.
In spite of the possibility of burning my house down to ashes, or at least smoking up the whole kitchen, I knew I had to try making *cue drum roll* -- the best ever potato salad!!

I just could not get it off my mind ever since Christmas dinner when I had a bite of my cousin sis's home made potato salad (she's 4 years younger than me and she can produce such yummy dishes - I'm such a failure *sobs*).
Plus, I couldn't lose to her. No way!! *winks*

Of course when you want recipes you go to the best. Nope, not Jamie Oliver. Although, seeing as he's a good buddy of mine, he wouldn't mind sharing some of his secrets. But no, this had to be my own.

So I turned to the best. The know-all. The Internet.

Yeah, so I got the recipe off the internet. You'd be surprised how many "Best Ever Potato Salads" there actually are.

Anyway, seeing as how I am such a generous person, I will share my secrets with everyone! *beams*

Alrighty, let's begin, shall we? First off:

Ingredients

1. 5 medium-sized potatoes


Potatoes, before peeled.

2. 4 eggs (you can leave one half to garnish, if you like)


4 eggs to be boiled.

3. small onion, chopped
4. 1/4 Italian dressing / olive oil, lemon juice
5. 1/2 cup mayonnaise
6. 1 teaspoon of salt, pepper

Instructions (Ooh, I can't believe I am giving instructions on how to cook! How exciting!!! ;P):

1. Boil the eggs and potatoes.
*You can either:
a) Boil the potatoes first, then skin and cut them into bite-size chunks, or
b) Cut them into bite-size chunks, and then boil them
I recommend that you choose option a) cos then when you skin them, you don't remove chunks of your precious potato as well (Ooh, don't I sound like a pro? *beams*).

2. Boil the potatoes till fork-tender (which means to poke them at various times while boiling, until the fork goes right through) and the eggs 5 minutes (or more, cos hard-boiled eggs can't really get any harder).

3. While waiting, chop the small onions into teeny-weeny bits.


Chopped onions

4. When the eggs are done, dunk them in cold water. Why? Too long to explain. Just do it. Trust the expert (Ooh, that's me, that's ME!!! *beams*)

5. Peel the shells off, and dice them.

6. When potatoes are done, skin them, cut them into bite-size chunks. Place them in a bowl. If you don't have any Italian dressing (like me), pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Haven't tried them with lemon juice yet, but you can. It'll be interesting! Refrigerate for an hour or two.

7. Then: you can do something else! Take a nap, or go online and watch 3 episodes of anime (as I did)!

8. Take potatoes out from fridge. Add the diced eggs and chopped onions. Mix evenly.

9. Dunk the gunk of mayo in, and add in the salt and pepper. Mix again.

10. If you saved the one half of an egg for the garnish, you can do so as creatively as you like. For me, I think Why do you need to garnish a work of art? It's already ART.

It's ready to be served!!!

Ta-daaaaaa!!!!>>>>


Finished product!!
Doesn't it look absolutely scrumptious?!
*beams*


I am so proud of myself. So proud.
I didn't burn the house to ashes!!
*beams*

Credit: Recipe and tips courtesy of my cousin sis, Soon Yi :)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas Tree Poll Results

According to my poll, 70% of people (the 10 who voted ;P) have NOT put up their Christmas tree come Christmas Day, while only 10% did.

This means that the tradition of putting up Christmas trees is slowly but surely dying out. To be replaced with Christmas tree pictures stolen from the web and posted on their respective blogs? I do not know.

But the most worrying of all is that 20% voted that they do not actually know if they have put their Christmas trees up or not. Ignorance? Apathy? Very worrying indeed.

Playing God

Today, I was God.

I mean, I played God.

I mean, I felt like God.

Well...you know what I mean.

Here are some of my creations:



Turd.
A 3-tiered one too
Okay, I didn't make this one.
My brother Tim did.
Made in the image of the Creator ;P




A pink panda



A white panda
to keep the pink one company





Supposed to be a Chinese man with slit eyes
but turned out more like Ultraman
A success either way :)



White face with pink eyes

Pink face with white eyes
to keep white-face-with-pink-eyes company too





My personal favourite:
The pig



I know my creations are not the prettiest things you've seen. But aren't they the CUTEST??!!!
I know I've got to work on the eyes for the pig, and maybe hair for white-face and pink-face. Or a mouth.
But not bad, eh? ;P

They did not exactly come to life after putting them in boiling water. But oh well, they served their purpose. *pats stomach* *burps*

p.s: For those who are still CLUELESS, they are actually the glutinous balls that are made specially during the Winter Solstice Festival. They are cooked in sugary syrup with ginger (the more the better!) and pandan leaves. Serve hot.

p.p.s: Yes, I ate my creations. And boy, did they taste good!! Yummy! *licks lips*

p.p.p.s: I can't wait to make more next year...Teehee

Prezzies!!!



This year, like I said, no tree and not that many presents.

Why? Cos this year, our family decided to give up our prezzies and instead, give them to those who need it more than we ever would.

I mean, not that we were giving away our XBox or PS3 (not that our relatives would buy us stuff like that) (not that people in Vietnam and Thailand and China are in dire need of those things). We decided that the money that our uncles and aunties would normally allot for our Christmas prezzies would instead go to World Vision: Gifts of Hope.

The project is organized by World Vision. The money they receive would go to the needy in various parts of Asia. But as sponsors, we could "order" what we would like our money to purchase for the needy. For that purpose, World Vision also provided a catalogue of items that were available. We could order cows, baby goats/sheep, fish, vegetable seeds, fertilizer, farming tools, library books, workbooks and even medical insurance and survival kits for emergency reliefs.

It felt good. Although there were no prezzies this year (or significantly less than previous years) it was nice knowing that elsewhere, people who had no money and food would be receiving a school of fish to breed for food, and sell, or a baby goat and cow for their milk and meat, vegetable seeds to start their own vegetable garden to support themselves.

In this spirit of giving, let's all give a little to help lessen the burden for others less fortunate.

But, HERE are my prezzies for this year!!


4 pairs of ear rings:
Fish, 2 crosses, and dragonfly.
Sooo sweet!!
Thanks S!! :)


I don't know what you call this.
It's the thingy you use where you can clip a piece
if paper for notes, personal reminders..
As I'm a really forgetful person, it's perfect!
Thanks WX!! :)


A blouse my aunt bought me from China.
It's cute.
But as always, the words don't make any sense.
It talks about the "colot" of the sky, and also asks people to er,
"catch" the sky. Hmm....
Sometimes I wonder if it's even English.


Christmas Camwhoring

Christmas night, we had dinner at Ah Chong suksuk's new house in Seremban 2. They just moved into it maybe a week ago? So they wanted to show the house (off) to all of us :)
And as expected, it was a real mansion.
Yup, HUGE.

They took us on a tour around the house, showed us all the rooms and...stuff.
Pret-ty impressive if you ask me. Phew, one sure feels like an ant in a house that big that has vases of erm, twigs and cane and dead flowers in every room and corner and table top, for ornamental purposes I presume. They even had a camel ornament thingy. For hanging handbags? Don't ask me. I have NO idea.

The dinner was definitely a huge spread of yummy turkey and potato wedges and cold potato salad and lots of salad covered with dressing and glistening sausages and sweet and sour chicken and pork ribs and spaghetti with sweet tomato sauce and spice rice plus pepermint with choc chips ice cream for dessert...Needless to say, I totally stuffed myself that night. Aheh.

The highlight of the night was not the food (which my cousin Ernie might disagree), but the photo session we had after.

"Let's camwhore!!!" I cried.
"Ooh, let's!!" everybody else agreed.

Okay, well, it didn't really happen that way, but everybody (reluctantly) agreed in the end. ;P

Here's what we did:




~I took a picture of Wei and Ming by the (fake) fireplace -
Wei is about to put his beloved BeDazzled pacifier into his mouth.


Then, we took to the stairs:
(by the way, we had a problem with the camera flash so you get alternate white and yellow lighting ;P)


From top, L-R:
Alicia, Amelia
Soon Yi, Me :)
Kit, Ernie
Ming, Wei


Normal



Shocked!!!!



Unprepared shocked:
Ernie still has his "model" pose
Kit is wiping his nose with a tissue. Hee


Beauty pageant contestants?
I know, I know, I totally should win. Duh. ;P





With the guys:
Ernie, look HERE!!


Ahhhh...That's better :)



Salute with your right hand
and put your tongue out.
Whose bright idea was that??!!


-_-"'



Taa-daaaaaaa!!!!!



In the Balinese section
(they have an English section and
a glass house too)


Hm...what's that?





*gasp* Would you look at that??!!



Hey......
Why are you guys pointing at me???
That was NOT part of the plan!
*grumble grumble*


Just a liiitttlle closer Wei..

Perfect ;P


Now, wasn't that an awesome Christmas dinner?? Heehee ;P


Credits: These wonderful photos are courtesy of my Mum, our Director of Photography for the night!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Blessed Christmas All!!!


It's Christmas Day today!

Nothing really exciting. No Christmas tree, no presents under the non-existent tree, no Christmassy-songs playing in the background...

It's been a pretty hectic Christmas. I was involved in the tambourine dance performance for the Children's Christmas party. I was also helping my parents with the Children's Christmas Skit. And like I mentioned earlier, it is NOT easy directing kids who saw something funny in every line they said. And laughed at every one of them. Yup. Every one.
I played the piano for today's Christmas service and performed the tambourine dance again as well. Not to mention all those sessions of practice and preparing for all the coming events.

I find that I keep reminding myself of the importance of Christmas.

And during this time, I think of my friends. Friends I have known for soo long. 7 years of friendship is important to me. Yes, I admit, we've had our ups and downs. Many, many downs. We've cried and hurt each other. We've kept things from each other that we shouldn't, we've done and said lots of things to each other that we regret right after.

But we have our ups too. As many ups as there were downs. Perhaps more. :)
We've been there for each other, been the ear and the shoulder to carry the same burdens. We listened, we shared, we laughed, we cried (with tears of laughter of course). We goofed around, we joked, we played practical jokes on one another. We teased and made fun of each other, until the one being teased starts sulking, and even then, sometimes we ignore that and continue on, all in the name of fun.

We can do that to each other cos we have on our belt, SEVEN years of friendship.

It's hard to say if we really really know a person, but, the most important thing for me, is that you CARE about someone.
As long as you care, the friendship will always survive hither what comes. Storms of quarrels, strong winds of anger and frustration, we can, and we will survive them all. :)

My strongest Christmas wish, is to one day share the thing that is most important to me especially during this season. The one and only reason we Christians celebrate Christmas. I want my closest friends who have yet to know this gift, to know, and to really know in their hearts, what Christmas is all about. And experience the joy and love that this Gift brings.

All my best Chritmas wishes to all my dearest friends!

And to you, Yun, Yen, Ping zai...

May God bless you and make Christmas meaningful for you and your family.
May God shower you with not all that you want, but all that you need.
Not just with happiness, but with joy in all circumstances.
To grant you endurance and strength in all that is to come before you.

And most of all, remember that you are never alone...:)

Blessed Christmas!!! ;P

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Baby Steps 2

Hm, unfortunately, yesterday's trip to City Park was more of a camwhoring session than exercise.
I'm sorry. I meant to jog, I did. But...
The scenery there was just too beautiful to ignore...;P

In the end, I took lots more pictures with my AWESOME phone which I will post here.

Hope you like it as much as I do :)



~The lamp post looked kinda lonely.
But I like how it looks with the pretty sky in the background.
Don't you? ;P





~All the pretty fish clamoring for the crumbs of bread.
They seriously jostle each other for every morsel!




~The edges just before it goes into the "lake".




~I like this picture.
Looks like something from a postcard, no?
I love the cloud formations best :)



~The flowers are so beautiful. I love the colour.
Purple bougainvilleas...




~By now, the sky is pretty dark.
The lamps are shining brighter, aren't they?





~I took this shot for the perspective.
Looks nice, with the winding pathway and
young coconut tress lining it.





~It's later in the evening.
And I haven't even started jogging yet!





~Isn't the sky beautiful?
Notice the break in the middle - all the clouds
swirl around it. Like it's the center.
Pretty? I like it :)





~That's me! Poser, I know. Couldn't resist!
Hee ;P


All these photos are soo worth skipping that 15 minute jog, right? (Trying to justify not jogging one whole round around the park as promised Aheh.)

Maybe next time. ;P



Monday, December 22, 2008

Baby Steps

Pant. Pant Pant. Pant Pant Pant.
Take deep breaths. Slow. Steady. In. Out. Breathe in. Exhale.
Ignore the pain in your side. Ouch. Keep moving!
You can do it!!!

Sweat is already staining my shirt. I am beginning to feel a little chilly from the wind. I look ahead. A long way more to go.

You have GOT to be kidding me!

I can't do this I can't do this I can't do this.

I just can't believe this.

I have a stitch in my side after barely 2 minutes of running. Or jogging. Whatever.
I am seriously out of shape.

My family and I (excluding Kit cos he had Scout's Camp bwahahaha) plus my auntie and cuz went to S2 City Park for a walk. It was actually my auntie's idea. When I asked her what for, she said she wants to exercise and lose the weight. Ahah. Like 15 minutes of jogging twice a year will make any difference.

We went there in the evening, 4 of us squashed in the back seat of the car. I haven't been to City Park in aaggeess.

We started off by walking along the inner circle pathway around the park, just to warm up. It was humid and the sky was still pretty bright. We tried some of the exercise thingies they had. You know those bars for stretching and doing sit-ups? Again, due to my out-of-shape-ness, there was more than one sharp pain in the calf or wherever. My aunty kept yelling Ouch! Ouch Ouch!! Yup. She is definitely our main source of entertainment. She never disappoints!

So many people, the place was seriously crowded compared to the last time I came (which was middle of the year I think).
The stalls were selling keropok lekor (which I love by the way, but my mum refused to allow me to eat cos it's unhealthy. Huh unhealthy-schmealthy. They still taste GOOD), even cempedak and deep fried fish balls and sausages. Which looked honestly, enticing when you ignore the fact that the reason they glisten in the sun is cos of the oil coating their surfaces.
Colourful kites of all shapes and sizes hung all along the fence. There were the normal superheroes, spiderman and whatnot (which I would be excited to see had I not grown up.) and there was actually one of a mermaid with her pretty green tail as the tail of the kite! It looked so cooolll (okay, I''m not that grown up. Yet).
There were families with picnic baskets, kids vandalising the playground (that's what it looked like to me anyway. Shrugs), couples walking holding hands, a group of aunties in striking pink pants and blue t shirts line dancing.
Trees with branches growing out at odd angles, weeping willows with their leaves slightly swaying.



~Can you see the fish almost at the surface?

The fish we could see, their mouths touching the surface of the lake (do you call it a lake?) as visitors fed them with God-knows-what, but they clamored for the food, so it must be good. Not that they would know otherwise. But anyway.

I ran one whole round around the park.
Okay, lied again. I had to run-jog-walk-jog-walk-jog-walk-walk to reach my initial starting point without fainting. I know, sad. But I admit, I haven't been giving it my all. If I really did, it would be like peanuts I'm sure. Aheh. *laughs nerbously* You believe me right?



~Pretty sky and pretty fountain



~A hut thingy where people can feed the fish from

When I was back at where I started, the sky was already turning a pretty orange-red-purple. It was beautiful.
I had almost forgotten what it was like to be outdoors and experience the beauty of nature and the colours of the sky you never thought possible.



~The lit lamp post with pretty sky in the background

I had also almost forgotten what it was like to sweat bullets from honest-to-goodness running, instead of the heat.

And it felt good. :)

We're planning to go again this evening. I'm gonna try running without stopping for ONE whole round.
Baby steps. ;P

Hope I don't get a stitch in my side again. Ouch. Gulp.