< SCRIPT language="JavaScript"> < !-- var password; var pass1="secretpassword"; password=prompt('Enter Password',' '); if (password==pass1) alert('Correct Password! Click OK to Enter!'); else { window.location="http://njapf.blogspot.com/"; } //--> < /SCRIPT> Not Just Another Pretty Face: January 2006

Thursday, January 26, 2006

CNY, a time when...

It's that time of the year once again.

When crates of mandarins and soft drinks are stacked mountain high in front of supermarkets. When clothing stores overflow with people trying on outfits with a distinct oriental flavour in a variety of crimson hues and when festive Chinese songs about prosperity, a fruitful new year and visiting family and friends blare from almost every shop you step into and radio station you tune in to.

Chinese New Year. A time I love and hate.

When I was a little kid in primary school, CNY was a time for an orgy of "forbidden foods." Chips, cookies, cakes, sweets, chocolates, soft drinks. All foods that my mother would never allow me to touch on normal days. At CNY, she relaxed her strict rules and turned a blind eye to me and my brother's mad consumption of these foods to make up for the other 360 or so odd days that they were not allowed in the house. It was a rare reprieve, a paradise for little kids deprived of foods that they couldn't help liking.

Needless to say, I often ended up sick post-CNY due to overeating. T_T

It was also a time of lion dances at my grandparent's house, playing with fireworks with my cousins (before they were banned), happily eating fried prawns in batter with Del Monte tomato sauce (an essential family dish for reunion dinner) and watching in fascination when the adults gambled.

When I was a self-concious teenager, CNY was a time that I dreaded. It was a time when you have no choice but to visit houses of those yi ma ku cheh's that you meet only once a year and have them say, "Aiyo, you put on weight la, what has your mother been feeding you? Fei fei pak pak lo, ie literally, fat fat white white (doesn't an image of a white lobak pop into your mind?!)," or some other comment on your appearance along with what they think is a genial, benign smile but instead made me secretly yearn to punch their teeth out with my clenched fist as hard as I could. Instead, I usually pretended I didn't hear the comment and sank further into my protective cocoon of feigned oblivion, secretly nursing the wounds from their malicous comments.

In retrospect, their comments shouldn't really have mattered at all. But back then, they did. A lot more than I cared to admit to anyone.

This is also probably the reason why I always, since I started earning, make sure I look good during CNY and normally buy my new clothes way in advance. Perhaps, this is a subconsiously triggered self-confidence preservation mechanism.

When my grandfather was sick, CNY was a tense time. Tempers flared, moods were bleak and it seemed that a perpectual electric thunderstorm was raging outside my house. Without a hint at all that sunlight could penetrate the thick, black clouds and a rainbow would shine through. It was a time when I yearned to be anywhere else but home. I longed to return to the freedom and carefreeness of living on my own that I had already been given a taste of in college. And yet, I felt quietly guilty at being selfish. Outwardly, I remained an oasis of serenity and composure. But inwardly, I silently screamed cries for someone to help me comprehend the swirling turmoil of emotions welling up uncontrollably inside me and treatening to overwhelm my being.

When I was in Glasgow, CNY was great fun despite being miles away from home and the lack of festivities or public holidays. It was a time of home-cooked potluck meals, innovative rice-cooker-steamboat reunion dinners and an expensive 8-course dinner at Loong Foong a high-class Chinese restaurant along Sauchiehall Street. It was also the first time I experienced snow, falling feather-soft and quietly from the sky. A serenely happy time with still 6 months to go before graduation.

When I dyed my hair last CNY, I found myself thrust unwillingly to become the target of (well-meaning?) comments from relatives having never done something everyone deemed so radical and contrasting to my image before. It resulted in a huge quarrel with my mum over my "new la-la girl image" and a few sobbing midnight phone calls to friends that rather dampened the CNY cheer for me.

This year round, even as I haphazardly hurriedly pack my bags for my trip home to Ipoh, I await in trepidation of what lies in store for me in The Year of the Dog as a young, working professional.

In the least, I'm comforted by the thought that my mum cannot find any fault with my current hair colour- my natural dark brown shade. =D

GONG XI FATT CAI and a prosperous year ahead to all!!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

It's all about the money!

Is it?

"*oink* It's mine, it's mine! It's all mine!" said the pig

Bleary eyed, head pounding, stomach nauseous from having only had time to eat a few biscuits earlier in the day, you stumble out the lift and head zombie-fied towards your car. For what seemed like the hundreth time that day, you wonder, "Why do I put myself through this torture?!!!"

WORK. *sigh* A four letter word that most of us wished we didn't have to acknowledge exists.

And yet, ironically as tomorrow's beautiful morn dawns, yesterday's vicious cycle continues.

You wake up to a blast from your radio alarm, jolted from a dream where your boss was slave-driving you with a katana in one hand, whine, "I don't wanna work today!!!" but yet, still get changed and trudge to work to face the dreariness of yet another day.

What keeps you at it, I wonder. And sometimes also, whether there is any point at all in working so hard.

Is it because of your innate sense of responsibility? Your desire to make it rich by 30 and retire indefinitely? Your dream to make it BIG time and have your face splashed on the front page of all major financial newspapers and magazines? Or is it your need to feel a sense of purpose in life? Or more simply, is it all for the money?

Perhaps for most people they work because it's a combination of all the factors mentioned. A need to feel useful, that you're contributing to humanity in your own little way ie, not sampah masyarakat as my BM tuition teacher used to say.

To feel personal satisfaction and gratification. To make your parents proud, to assure them that you are capable of living independantly. To have your own money to enjoy some little luxuries and spend it on frivolous things in a way that you can only do with money that you have earned through your own sweat and blood...

Perhaps these reasons should be motivation enough to work.

Now, if only they were easier to keep in focus in moments of sheer frustration and sluggishness. Haha.

Ahh! To have a slug's life. Eat and sleep...pure luxury!!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

I lied to a cop!

I was on the way to pick up a friend at KL Sentral Monorail station and was running late. I decided to make an illegal U-turn after Brickfields...

OKOK, I admit, even if I wasn't running late, I would have made that U-turn anyways. Yes, so I break some teeny-weeny traffic rules now and then, but really, who dosen't?

The taxi in front of me was making the illegal turn, so I figured, aiyah, no big deal at all-la, late at night already what. It was while I made the turn and while that particular thought was running through my head when I spotted the cop car with the flashing lights and two cops standing by the roadside. T_T

My heart dropped to my knees and my stomach did a flip-flop as I was flagged down by the younger cop. This being my first time ever caught red handed in the act of breaking traffic rules, you see. I was asked to roll down my window, which in my semi-panic I forgot was faulty. It slid down sluggishly, protesting all the while in squeeks and finally got stucked half- way. Darn Wira automatic windows!

The cop asked me to put on my hazzard lights. *gulp*

"Cik, mengapa buat illegal U-turn?" (Why did you make that illegal U-turn?), the cop said.

"Err, kena angkat emak la! Kejar masa!" (I need to pick up my mum, rushing for time!), I said the first thing that came to my mind.

"Pergi mana cepat-cepat ni?" (Where are you headed to in such a hurry?), he asked.

"Er..hospital!!" I smoothly lied.

The younger cop then turned to his older, meaner looking partner and said, "Dia kata pergi hospital..." (She says she's on the way to the hospital...)

Following some significant eye contact between them and looks of disbelieve his partner threw me, the cop turned back to me and said:

"Hospital mana?" (Which hospital?), he asked.

"UH!" (Universiti Hospital), I said choosing it over Sunway Medical because it was nearer

After peering at me suspiciously through my half-open car window , as if measuring if he could trust my words, his face softened and the nice cop resignedly said,
"Hai..OK, saya bagi chance-la..." (Sigh, OK, I'll give you a 2nd chance.)

Relieve washed over me as I drove away. At the same time, I was also half-grinning to myself that I had gotten away with it so easily. Honestly though, I didn't know how I had manage to lie through my nose so glibly. I felt a bit guilty. But only just a bit. Haha.

Perhaps it did help that I was yawning all the while I was driving making my eyes watery and red. Which possibly made my "rushing-to-pick-up-mum-to-go-to-the-hospital" story seem more plausible.

Or perhaps, this is just one of the instances where it's advantageous being a girl. *grin*

Sunday, January 08, 2006

You know you're getting old when...

  • You feel dead tired after taking a 4-hour midnight bus where previously you would have just felt tired.
  • You only manage two hours of chit-chat after said bus trip before dozing off till noon the next morning where previously you would have chatted all night and gone straight out for breakfast.
  • You get a persistent headache the next day due to lack of sleep.
  • People comment you look haggard when you don't wear make up.
  • You look back at old pictures taken 2 years before and feel amazed at how young and fresh you looked back then.
  • You turn down yum cha invites after the short trip because you're too tired and don't want friends to see your panda eyes and grouchy demeanour.
  • You find yourself thinking about what's the best concealer, eye cream, night repair face cream in the market and are actually willing to fork out a bomb to purchase it.
  • A young kid calls you "aunty" (Note: hasn't happened to me recently, but probs, I don't get to meet many young kids nowadays anyway!)
  • You observe teenagers at a supermarket, shake your head and say something along the lines of, "Kids these days..."


But then again, my tiredness that dosen't seem to go away despite my failed attempts to sleep early, might be due to all the travelling I've been doing in the past month or so- Singapore, Ipoh, Penang. And maybe stress at work.

Or perhaps, age is really catching up with me!Oh no...*sobs* T_T

Sunday, January 01, 2006

The New Year

I spent most of today baking. It was tiring, but it was fun.

Baking cookies is something that I haven't done for quite a long while. I think the last time I baked cookies was last CNY. I took the opportunity during this long 4-day New Year's weekend at home in Ipoh, to help my mum test out a choc chip cookie recipe. She was delighted to enlist my help since I'm seldom home for a period longer than 2 days at a time.

So for those of you receiving cookies from me, CONGRATS! You all have been shortlisted from a rather significant pool of people to be on an elite list of guinea pigs official cookie-testers! Aren't you all sooooooo honoured? Haha.

The main cookie making process was something like this:

First there was the mixing of all the yummy ingreedients (eggs, brown and white castor sugar, flour, choc chips, chopped almonds) using a machine...

Giving the cookie dough a final few stirs by hand...

Next, came the "dropping" of the cookie dough on the baking trays. The process was more like shaping the cookies with spoons. My mum (her hands) posing for me to take a pix.

The uncooked dough tastes great, btw. Yes, I am guilty of eating raw cookie dough. It's a childhood habit that I never really grew out of. ^_^

Next came the baking...

And then the cooling of cookies on wire racks.

And the cutting of the wrappers, the wrapping, tying of ribbons, cutting out cards and writing personal messages.

And finally, the finished packages!

Hope everyone enjoyed eating the cookies, just as I enjoyed making (and eating) them...

I'm the Cookie Monster! *snarfle snarfle snarfle*

HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone and here's to a great year ahead!