Dear Readers,

Salam & Good day to all... I hope you'll have fun reading and probably collect something useful here. I welcome all comments & commends. Please don't be anonymous. I'd like to know my visitors :)

"La Tahzan, InnaAllaha ma'ana" (Al- Quran: Surah At- Taubah- Verse 40)
Translation: "Be not sad (or afraid), surely Allah is with us."

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." ~Edmund Burke~

'It's not what the world holds for you, but what you bring to it' ~Anne of Green Gables~

Friday, December 18, 2009

Happy 1431 Hijrah Everyone…

I welcomed Maal Hijrah with prayers on evening yesterday… and also with hope as high as the sky.

I have real good Maal Hijrah memories for the first 3 years in secondary school. Maal Hijrah was an event that I look forward to. Every year we performed nasyid at Islamic Center in Kuala Lumpur. The first year, we sang nasyid together with delegates from other government departments. In the 3rd year, we got to sing on stage in-front of Sultan Azlan Shah… that was a great experience… and we got a waqaf Al-Quran from Egypt government as a souvenir...

The first 3 years in secondary school, I was really active with my nasyid choir… we were so cool… nerdy cool… hahahaaaa…

I still remember all the Maal Hijrah songs that we sang… I don’t remember the titles though… so, absorb to heart the lyrics below. If you want to hear the song, maybe I’ll sing and upload them here… I have to warn you though. That might bring 'thunderstorms'… heheheheeee…

* The lyrics are all in Malay… sorry…
The last song is my favorite :)
*****

1 Muharram detik permulaan
Perkiraan tahun Islam Hijrah
Perpindahan Nabi & umat Islam
Dari kota Mekah ke kota Madinah

Atas keyakinan & iman yg teguh
Kaum Muhajirin & Ansar bersatu
Rela berkorban, harta & nyawa
Demi menegakkan Islam tercinta

Hijrah itu pengorbanan
Hijrah itu perjuangan
Hijrah itu persaudaraan
Hijrah membentuk perpaduan

Oleh itu, mari semua
Kita sambut Maal Hijrah
Tekadkan semangat, tegakkan syiar Islam
Untuk sepanjang zaman...
Untuk sepanjang zaman...

Untuk sepanjang zamannnnnn...


Hijrah!
*****

Hijrah Muhammad Rasullullah
Dari Mekah ke Madinah
Membela kehidupan ummah
Hilang gentar, datang rahmat.

Muliamu dan amanahmu
Mengkagumkan dunia maju
Tunjuklah semua yang ragu
Mengakui Allah yang satu

Riangnya hati kaum Ansar
Menyambut Rasul yang berbudi
Basah airmata mengalir
Terharukan wajah suci
*****

Berhijrah dari derita
Berhijrah dari sengsara
Berhijrah kita dari berdosa
Berhijrah dari noda

Hidup ini kan kita isi
Kekuatan tanpa terhenti
Menuju arah redha Ilahi
Pelihara harga diri

Maal Hijrah seribu erti
Bersamalah Hijrah sejati
Berhijrah sepenuh hati
Itulah Hijrah hakiki

Dalam hijrah ada perpaduan
Dalam hijrah ada kemesraan
Dalam hijrah ada keamanan

Hiduplah Maal Hijrah!
*****

So, happy Maal Hijrah to all my fellow muslims. May this new year brings more meaning and success to all of us.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Coke + Mentos Rocket

Ok, I don't have cable tv... shocking right? Nah, not really since I found out that quite a number of people don't have cable tv. What I missed most by not subscribing to Astro? NatGeo & Discovery Channel of course... huhuhuuuuu...

Anyway, I caught this interesting episode of Discovery Channel's 'Time Warp' while I was on the flight back to KL. It was so interesting. I've always heard that we should not consume mentos & coke together, but never really have enough curiosity to try it on my own. Luckily, there's Discovery Channel & NatGeo... I can just watch other people do the experiment (and this is why I'm not a scientist... mystery solved :P )

You can find the whole episode online but the thought that I want to share is in the video I uploaded below. Pay attention to the time between 0:30 - 1:40...

video

This experiment triggered my thought.

Why can't mentos and coke be used to launch rocket then? It'll be interesting to see that happen and there won't be so much CO2 released to the atmosphere due to oil generated rocket launching.

Just a crazy thought... but I think it might work :)

Yo thoughts wandering outside of the box, come back in!

No way! The box is so square :P

Have a great day all free minds!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Unwinding...

2nd big milestone achieved... not error free, but without major issue. My deepest gratitude to ALLAH for all his help & guidance and to my dearest mom for her continous prayer. Also a big thank you for my Korean counterpart for their great cooperation and teamwork and to my team leader & teammates for all your support.

After 2 weeks of a somehow stressful period, I finally get some time to calm down, before the next chaotic events started. Which will be soon... But time flies so fast, that period will also past so quickly. All I need to do is to do my best, persevere and focus. Keep my course on the objective. I just hope I'll get to my target.

I've been unwinding yesterday & today... I wish I have more time to relax, but no... that time will come muchhhhh later... I keep telling myself, focus... focus... because it is so hard to focus when I'm hit with tiredness...

However, in my busy schedule I will always try to find time to update my blog for my left & right brain need to be balanced :)

Have a nice life y'all. Remember, if you're in stress, take a break!


MH - Malaysian Hospitality

That's definitely one of the reasons why I prefer to fly Malaysia Airlines (MAS)... patriotism aside and when cost is not in question :)

I have not been on many airlines... just a few... and comments about airlines that I haven't been on, I collected from other people. Above all, in my opinion MAS is the best. You wonder why?

I'm not sure. I believe, mostly because I'm a Malaysian and being on MH flight makes me feel at home. But seriously, MAS provides a good in-flight services, whether you're in an economy or business class. I'm sure there are some people out there who had bad experience with MAS, but to be honest, I never had that kind of experience. I hope I will never. All these time, my experiences flying on MH flights has always been pleasant and calm. The steward and stewardess were friendly, polite, gentle and they speak softly which is very important in a close and compact environment.

One time, on my flight to the UK, I was surprised with a mug of 'teh tarik' even when all I asked for was some biscuits for an evening snack. That was an unforgettable experience... the little things always make an impression :)

However, I must tell you... the main reason why I would always choose Malaysia Airlines is that they put a disclaimer in their menu... all foods served on MH flights are HALAL.

Phewww... that's the biggest relief.

All of us have different reasons for choosing an airline, cost especially. But, if cost is not a problem and especially if you're muslim and Malaysian, do choose Malaysia Airlines because no other airlines can understand Malaysian better. As for muslims, flying MAS is really worry free. Trust me.

Even if you're not Malaysian nor muslim, you should still choose MAS to experience Malaysian Hospitality... they really demonstrate how we Malaysian treat our guests :) which is GOOD...

Although, I do wish MH in-flight cabins can be as good as SIA...

Before I sign out, I would like to express my admiration to all 'smooth' pilots who had made my landing experience pleasant. They showed that landing can be done smoothly and gently and I've always admired them for that. To Captain Benedict Jody (I hope I got his last name right), captain of flight MH65, Incheon to KLIA via KK, thank you for the 2 times of smooth landings. You're the man!

I'm promoting MAS :) Kindly visit http://www.malaysiaairlines.com/ for flight reservation.


Thursday, December 10, 2009

My first winter...

and my first snow of course...

Can you imagine how 'rusa masuk kampung' I was... hahahaaaaa... so funny! Everyone was running trying to get away from the snow... Like how we run away from rain, finding shades... Not me... I found an open space, spread my palms open, trying to catch the little snow balls...

Snow, I always imagined it would feel like grated ice, but really it is soft like cotton...

I wish my family was here... especially my beloved mommy...

Cik Ct insisted that I check how the snow flakes looks like... so I did... without paying attention at people passing by or whether they were looking at me... who cares? I was enjoying my first snow. How cool is that? So cool!

Observing the snowflakes, I found that there are a few patterns of them... they are so tiny, I only managed to identify one or two and it looked something like this....

Yesterday, it was quite warm. I think it was about 0 degree... never thought I would classify 0 degree as warm... but it is warm if compared to the other days when it was -4 degrees and the wind was blowing... and today it rained almost the whole day...

Tomorrow... maybe it'll be snowing...

I was hoping for a white winter... you know, when the white snow covered the pathway, the leaveless trees wrapped in those soft white 'cottons'... but, I didn't get my chance. But it's ok... I enjoy the cold weather anyway :)

I also enjoy wearing my old big long water resistent coat with hood. It has 3 pockets... the inside pocket to keep my important things... 2 outside pockets... one for my gloves, the other for my long scarf... It's a perfect coat for me. As kampung as I am, I wear 2 layers of coat with gloves covered hands & mafleur wrapped around my neck while the local ladies wore blouse with skirts & long stokings... plus a layer of knee length coat. That's all...

I bet I'll freeze if I dressed up like that.

This trip has been wonderful for me... as well as the last autumn. I always know that I enjoy spring and autumn the most, but winter is also not so bad. I only wish I had time to walk around to capture the beauty of winter...

Maybe some other winter, some other place...

Thinking of winter sonata... so romantic...

Forever dreamy signing off... nite nite...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Missing me...

I can hear thoughts in my head... all crying to be let out... but I can't write right now for it will all be incorrectly expressed. Cluttered mind is not good for writing...

I'm missing the writer part of me... but, first thing first... work has to be completed. After 2nd milestone achieved, I can take sometime to unwind... to write. Hopefully my brain not too idle or frozen during the unwinding period... heheheeee...

So, hope to summarized a lot of things soon. Hope to meet that other part of me somewhere towards the end of this year :)

Not to forget, Happy Eidul Adha to all muslims!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Rascal Flatts - Stand

Loving this...
*****

You feel like a candle in a hurricane
Just like a picture with a broken frame
Alone and helpless
Like you've lost your fight
But you'll be alright, you'll be alright

Cause when push comes to shove
You taste what you're made of
You might bend, till you break
Cause its all you can take
On your knees you look up
Decide you've had enough

You get mad, you get strong
Wipe your hands, shake it off

Then you stand...
Then you stand...

Life's like a novel
With the end ripped out
The edge of a canyon
With only one way down
Take what you're given before its gone

Start holding on...
Keep holding on

Everytime you get up
And get back in the race
One more small piece of you
Starts to fall into place

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

My favourite advertisements...

Have you seen TM advertisement on 'Everyone Connects'? I love the advertisement so much... it's so cute and memorable... hihihiii... I love it. Unlike the P1WIMAX advertisement. The advertisement is funny I have to admit, but a bit 'obscene'... I think...
and... I don't get any reason why I should switch to their service.
Anyway, today I want to share a few advertisements that are my all time favourite. Heheheeee... there are a few more, but I just upload these three...
Petronas's Deepavali advertisement is the best one! Pathiiiii...


Petronas
video

TM
video

Proton
video


Those working in advertising must have so much fun coming out with crazy ideas...

Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Falling in Love with Laksamana Sunan

He's a fiction, he doesn't exist, he's not real...

But, I fell in love with him. It's impossible not to.

Saifuddin, respectfully known as 'Laksamana Sunan' is a great man. He's only a character in Ramlee Awang Murshid's 'Bagaikan Puteri' trilogy. I'm aware of the fact that he's only alive in those stories and wishing that he's real is like 'in your dreams'. Well... I'll be very happy to see him in my dreams if I did :) He's gentle, he's kind & sweet, he's 'alim', he's patient, he's strong, he has a tough & good heart, he's a romantic and he's good looking... in one word, 'perfect'... senang cerita *wink*

Above all... he's a man... he's the man... huhuhuuuuu...

Anyway... snapping out of fantasy world... what I really want to write is about Ramlee Awang Murshid's trilogy. They call it 'Bagaikan Puteri' trilogy, but I'd rather call it 'Laksamana Sunan' trilogy because it's a story about this great man.


I love these books so much that I finished reading all three within 3 weeks. I managed to find reading times in between my busy schedule, on a crowded train, on my flight to Korea, during my alone time in Seoul, before bedtime... all the timeeeeee... I finished reading 'Cinta Sang Ratu' in one weekend... I love the 2nd book so much!

To be honest, I hardly read books written by Malay novelist. Mostly because it's hard for me to find a good book or the good ones are too much of a literature for me. Everytime I go to the Malay novel racks at the bookstore, I wish to find storybooks that are as entertaining as 'Up & Down in the Dales' by Gervase Phinn, or twisted like 'Kane & Abel' by Jeffrey Archer, or puzzling like 'The Da Vinci Code' by Dan Brown or sweet and innocent like my all time favorite 'Anne of Green Gables' by L.M Montgomery. I can't remember any Malay storybook that I really love except... Nisah Haron's short stories when I was in secondary school. She rocked with 'Atlantis, Duniaku DuniaMu', 'Disebalik Wajahmu Aries', 'Annyss Sophilea' & one more that I can't remember the title.
 
But, Ramlee Awang Murshid has proven to me that Malay novelist can level with western novelists. Browsing through book racks full of Malay romance novels, I really felt discouraged. I need to slip away from the real world, to find ideas, something different, something 'outside of the box' and entertaining... I'm glad I found this trilogy. Although, I don't really like the 3rd book. But the 2nd one... so good... huhuhuhuuuuu... I should have picked up these books when I started seeing them the first time.
 
What I like about this story? Laksamana Sunan of course... and Sang Ratu. The novels flow smoothly even though it jumps from one century to another, each time changing the storyline, but still connected. It is so cool. Ramlee Awang Murshid must have a very clear idea of what he wanted to write when he wrote these novels. These novels are full of time travels, demons and devils, werewolves, rotten-hearted humans and of course... love. But not a mushy mushy kind of love. A real love... logical, practical... loyal...
 
The best thing is, these novels keep on reminding the readers that there is no power greater than ALLAH, that everything happened with a 'hikmah' behind it... it keeps reminding the readers to be patience, tawakal and always keep a good heart. 'Laksamana Sunan' and 'Sang Ratu' characters remind me to become a better muslim...
 
What a good way of da'wah...
 
So, if you haven't read this trilogy... you better :) This trilogy is a good piece of work and officially makes me a big fan of Ramlee Awang Murshid.

'Sebagai manusia, aku sayang kepadamu...'

I love you too Laksamana Sunan...

Aloooo... wake upppppp...

Ooppppssss sorry... it's bedtime now... off to dream world... hoping to meet Laksamana Sunan (hahahaaaa... I wish!)

Sweet dreams everyone!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Braving Seoul - Wrap up


What I learned during my trip to Seoul?

A lot of things...

The most important thing that I learned was, people appreciate it when we showed appreciation for their culture and language. So, when travel to a country where English is not their first language, learn a few words in their languade. When conversing, use those words that you have learned. It might seems simple and easy, or sometimes inaccurately pronounced but I think it will still be appreciated. I got a very big smile from a taxi driver when I said 'Kamsahamnida' instead of 'Thank you'. He even warmed up to me :)

So, let's learn a few Korean phrases (that I used most during my visit there):
  • Good morning, Good afternoon, Good evening --> Anyeonghaseyo?
  • Yes --> Ye/ Ne.
  • No --> Aniyo.
  • Thank you --> Kamsahamnida.
  • I am sorry --> Mianhamnida.

Walking around Seoul was safe. The people are nice to strangers :) But still, pick the right person when you want to ask something... and same advice again... for ladies travelling alone, please be very careful and prepared. Know where you want to go, how to get there... don't wander around.

Enjoy your travel and be safe ok!

Braving Seoul - Episode 2

On my second day, I woke up early because I need to start early. Mostly because I need to come back early... the next day was my working day.

After breakfast, I made my way to the Namsagol Hanok Village. This cultural village located at about 20 minutes walking time from the hotel.

The morning was comfortably cold and my walk was pleasant :)

For me, there was nothing much to see at the village. Maybe because I've seen Korean traditional architecture from the day before. What I noticed at the village... there were a few groups of primary school children with their teachers. They were discussing something and looked like they were having a good time there.

I wonder whether schools in Malaysia do the same thing. Outdoor learning is very refreshing and stimulating, don't you think?


Namsagol Hanok Village


In Hanok Village, you can see different types of Korean traditional houses and architectures. During my visit, there was a demonstration of traditional Korean basket weaving. If your timing is right, you can catch the
performance of Korean drama and dances.

To read more on Hanok Village, you can visit this website:
http://www.lifeinkorea.com/travel2/seoul/110/


I only spent about 1 hour at the Hanok Village. After that, I started my journey to Itaewon. Today, I travelled mostly by walking and the subway.

Itaewon

There were nothing much for me to see in Itaewon either. Or maybe I'm already tired and can't stop thinking about the need to do final round of preparation for the next day. I had no other plan coming to Itaewon except to check out the muslim community there.

I took a taxi to get to Masjid Prince Sultan because I'm not really sure the way and I was not prepared for climbing the streets there. That morning, there were not many people at the masjid. But there was an Islamic class going on for children.

At the entrance of the masjid, I was stopped by two Korean students. They were doing a research about cross culture in Korea for their school assignment and wanted to take my picture to include in their project. Well, of course we have to help children who wants to learn right? So, I posed... hehehehheeeee...


Masjid @ Itaewon

There were a lot of halal restaurants around Itaewon. You just stand at the entrance of the masjid, look in front, to the right, to the left... you can see all the restaurants there. There were Indian's, Pakistan's, Turkish, Indonesian and Korean restaurants. There was also a halal meat shop, a bakery and a couple of grocery shops.


Muslim center, marts & halal restaurants around Itaewon

There was also a 'US Armed Forces Help Center - Itaewon Self Regulating Anti-Crime Unit' booth at Itaewon town. This is the first time I saw this kind of booth during my travel in Seoul. So, I'm thinking... hmmmmm?

But, whatever... I tried to keep a positive mind.

I didn't buy anything at Itaewon except for a couple of pizza breads at the bakery just now. After Itaewon, I took the subway to Gangnam because according to the travel magazine Gangnam is like a 'Paris in Seoul'. Wow! I have got to see that! I can shoot more romantic sceneries...

When I see the place... hmmmm... definitely not like Paris *sigh*

Maybe I was at the wrong street. At that time, I started to feel tired and I didn't want to search for the right street. Plus, I saw a few nice, funky and cheap clothes that I could buy... So, I need to go shopping... hihihihiiii...

After Gangnam, I took the subway to Dongdaemun Market. I just want to see the place. I didn't have anything to buy. When I saw Dongdaemun Market, I'm reminded of 'Pasar Minggu' in Malaysia. So many people, so many shops, so many things, soooo busy... even though a lot of shops close on Sunday.

Dongdaemun Market

What impressed me the most was the row of shops that sell books. So many books... old and new. I was tempted to buy the old copies of NatGeo magazines because I saw some interesting titles. But then I think, it'll be heavy to carry... and I'm already feeling tired and hungry.

That was when I decided to head back to the hotel. My little adventure today was not as interesting as yesterday but I managed to cover a big area of Seoul in just 2 days. What an achievement :)

Next time when I visited Seoul, I can go visit some place outside the city.

Mount Seoraksan maybe...

Wishful thinking signing out *wink*


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Braving Seoul - Episode 1


Anyeonghaseyo!


The highlight of my day @ Gyeongbukgung Palace.
Able to shoot one good picture out of a hundred shots is very satisfying...
I really, really love the colours of autumn...



It was an exciting weekend for me and I'm pretty sure it was a worrying one for my mother. Hihihihi... my mom is so adorable :)

Well, excited as I was, I didn't wake up early for my adventure day. I was still so tired from the day before. So I woke up at around 9.00am, finished getting ready at about 9.45am, went down for breakfast and done with it at around 10.30am... I was really taking it slow that day.

I kept on wishing that I had a friend to walk around with me and kept on wondering whether I'll be able to enjoy myself travelling alone...

Turned out I did enjoy myself travelling alone around Seoul that day... yihaaaaa!

I started my day with a trip to Namdaemun Market. I took a taxi there. From the Grand Ambassador Hotel, it cost me 4,400KRW. Why did I take a trip to the market first? Well, obviously because I need to do an initial survey on what to buy of course! heheheeeee...


Namdaemun Market
The market was not too big, but I still spent about 1 hour there. There were so many things...
Souvenirs, clothes, fashionable hats, stylish winter clothings, luggage bags, handbags, ginseng tea, ginseng, seaweed, restaurants,
household appliances, jewellery, colorful & trendy socks and a lot more that I think I missed.

I bought a lovely sweater for my mom and a few bracelets for my cousins. I started to shop for some more before I finally realized that I still need to walk around and carrying a heavy load was something that I can do without. So, I snapped out of my shopping mode and quickly find the nearest exit out of the market.
My guide for that day, was a colourful illustration of Seoul map. A cute map with cartoon icons. But, it was not so hard to find my next destination, the 'Deoksugung Palace'. From the Namdaemun Market, I walked towards the City Hall because according to the map, that palace should be at around there. So, I started walking.

Along the way, I passed by a fountain that I saw everyday on my way to work. So, I decided to stop to take some pictures. I didn't know what the statues represent, but I figured it might have something to do with freedom or liberation or something because the statues looked happy & content :)


In the middle of Seoul city, some statues, Bank of Korea Museum


After walking about half an hour, I reached the 'Deoksugung Palace'. I missed changing of the guards at the palace by a few minutes. I only managed to see the end of the ceremony from across the road.

Deoksugong Palace
Deoksugung is just a small palace.
But there were a few halls for the king, queen, the royals
and servants inside the palace compound.
The architecture were of course traditional Korean.
The gardens were small, but looked very peaceful.



To read more on Deoksugung Palace, you can visit this website:




After Deoksugung Palace, I made my way towards the Gyeongbukgong Palace. It took me about 45 minutes walking time, with sightseeing to reach this palace. Along the way, I came across this statue... he stood there looking strong and macho. The one picture I took using the wrong exposure made it looked like he was floating in the air... which I like... heheheeee... There were also a lot of fresh flowers on the bench there which strike to me as weird... it's autumn... these flowers shouldn't blooming right?

On the way to Gyeongbukgung Palace


Finding my way in Seoul was not hard. Just when I started to doubt whether I'm going in the right direction, there stood a 'Tourist Information' booth. It was such a convenience. The booths were not only fully utilized by tourists, but also by locals. The officers on duty were also very friendly and helpful.

Gyeongbukgung Palace

This is my favourite palace. Mostly because it has this big and beautiful garden.
I didn't really go inside the palace building because it looked the same as the Deoksugung Palace.
The sun was shining, the sky was blue and it was windy. I also got to see The Royal Banquet ceremony...


To read more on Gyeongbukgung Palace, you can visit this website:
http://www.lifeinkorea.com/travel2/seoul/66/



Two most interesting thing happened during my visit to Gyeongbukgung.

First, I was interviewed by a TV station (I think... I didn't get the TV station name). If you happened to see me on TV (hopefully on National Geographic or Discovery Channel), please let me know whether I looked ok or not. I suspected that my 'tudung' must looked a bit funny that day because the wind was blowing hard.

Second, I managed to shoot one very, very satisfying photo. I love it so much. That photo is the one that I put at the start of this entry.

After I finished my tour around Gyeongbukgung Palace, I went into The National Folk Museum, which is just next door.

The National Folk Museum of Korea
This museum displays the evolution of Korean life and culture.
The thing that interest me most was picture number 3.
That was a 'Parent's 60th Birthday Celebration'.
Once, it was a big deal to reach the age 60. So 60th birthday was a big celebration.
A lot of sweets served on that day as good wishes for the parents.


To read more on The National Folk Museum of Korea , you can visit this website:
http://www.lifeinkorea.com/travel2/seoul/80/

Actually, there was one more palace that I wanted to visit. The Changgyeongguk Palace. But the information center told me the palace already closed because it was already 5.30pm. *sigh* So, I took a taxi to Myeongdong Market. I wanted to take the subway, but I couldn't find it. The taxi fare for the ride was 12,000KRW because of traffic jam. Huhuhuhuuuuu... the taxi driver apologize to me even though it was not his mistake...

Myeongdong Market
Myeongdong Market sold different stuffs from Namdaemun Market.
There were more clothing here...


Was it hard to shop in Seoul? Not really... some of them can speak some English. But if you happened to shop where the salesperson cannot speak English, know this... spoken words is not the only mean of communication. There are also gestures, facial expression and of course, calculator... hihihihiiiii...
When I travel to some place, it is very important for me to try the public transportations there. It makes me feel like I'm really tasting the place. So, I tried Seoul subway. But, I didn't try the bus. Maybe next time...

From Myeongdong Market, I had to take Line 3 & 4 to get to my hotel. I thought I'll get lost when I first looked at the subway map, but NO. Apparently, I have a bit of sense of direction... hihihihiiii... but, it's not that hard to find your way. Just follow the direction on the boards.

Seoul subway is not as simple as KL's LRT system. Subway in Seoul have a few levels... you can see from the evacuation chart. At some stations that I've been to, there were gas masks... for emergencies. You go to the vending machine to buy the ticket and there's always a 500KRW deposit which you can get back later at the deposit return machine. I didn't take the photos of the machines... maluuu... hehheheeeee...
How I know how to use the machines?

By observation of course :)

Seoul subway - Line 3 & 4


That's the end of my day... It actually ended with an uphill walk from the subway station to the hotel. I was so tired but very happy with my little adventure today :)

Kamsahamnida!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Seoul - Day 1

You remember my plans, what I want to do when I arrived in Korea? Do you remember 'sleeping' in that plan? No? Neither am I. But, that's what I did... adoiiii...

I planned to walk around Seoul this lovely autumn, but I was too sleepy. I couldn't sleep when I was on the flight. Then, I have to wait for almost 2 hours to get an early check- in. Struggled to keep my eyes open while waiting at the lobby. When I got into my room, I set the alarm at 2.00pm, and woke-up at 5.00pm. By then, I'm too lazy to go out... Great! *sigh*

I still have 3 nights and 2.5 days to explore Seoul. I hope I won't have to work until late hours for the 3 days...

My flight from KLIA to Seoul was ok... actually, sleeping on the flight was uncomfortable. I used to be able to sleep anywhere when I'm sleepy, but that's not true anymore. I take this as a sign of aging... heheheeee... Flight took off at around 12.00am, I tried to get some sleep at around 1.00am, only able to fall asleep at about 1 hour later, keep on waking up until 4.00am. Then I started to sleep a bit more soundly, but at around 5.00am, it's time for breakfast already since it's 6.00am Korea time and we'll be landing at about 1 hour. The in-flight lights were turned on so brightly that I have to wake-up.

Having to wake up when I was still sleepy was not a regret. The morning scenery... view of sunrise from the sky was just marvellous! The colours, the serenity... Oh my gosh! I love it! I couldn't stop smiling.

But, smart me... I didn't take the picture of the wonderful sunrise.... therefore, I have to borrow pictures from the internet again... The sunrise looked like the picture below, but with a bit more vivid bluish, orangey and yellowey colours.


And then, when the flight decreased altitude for landing, we went through a thick clouds formation. It's so thick.... I feel like if I jumped on it, I'll bounce... so nice! It actually look like a white cotton candy. So soft & yummy!

When we arrived at the platform, there were medical officers at the gate because of H1N1. Immediately after the gate exit was the immigration counter. The baggage claim area was a floor below. I didn't have to wait long for my bag, which was great :)

The driver from hotel transfer service was already waiting with a placard with my name on it. He was a very nice and friendly guy. He speaks English fluently. Along the way, he showed me and tell me a few interesting attractions in Seoul. I found out that the biggest river in South Korea, is in Seoul. The Han River.

The concierge at Sofitel Hotel was also so sweet! So does the room service guy who helped me with my internet access problem. They are so helpful and concern... (plus, those small squinted eyes... I likeeeee... )

Inside my room... the last picture is what impressed me the most... hihihiii...
Overall, I have a very good first impression of Seoul. The city and the people...

I haven't walk around Seoul yet. So, for starters, please enjoy these pictures of Seoul that I took from my hotel room window :)


p/s: the internet connection is superfast tonite...

Can't wait to explore Seoul!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Indahnya Hidup Bersyariat by Ustaz Dato' Ismail Kamus

This is one book that I'm definitely going to get. Basically because lately it's been hard for me to recall most of the Islamic lessons that my ustaz and ustazah had taught me since primary school. If they knew this, they'll be very dissappointed.

This book, by Ustaz Dato' Ismail Kamus is a comprehensive guide to Fardhu A'in and Fardhu Kifayah. Whatever it is that we as muslims must know, you can find it in this book...

What to do on childbirth, how to perform solat, how to perform solat when travelling, how to perform solat when we're sick, what is the correct way to do business, what are the fundamentals of marriage, how to handle death and funerals.

This book also provide all the 'adab's and 'doa's that we can practise in our daily lives.

What I mentioned above is only some of the book's contents that I can remember. Actually there are a lot more...

The price of this book is only RM 55.00 in Peninsular and RM57.00 for Sabah/Sarawak. But, that RM55.00/57.00 is more than worth it. The information contained in this book worth so much more than that, plus this book is printed on a high quality paper with colored and clear pictures of human models demonstrating the actions described.

If you're looking for a perfect book or a perfect gift, this book would be it.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Foie Gras (a.k.a "fatty liver")

Human are cruel...

This is not the first time I heard about the name of this dish, but this is the first time I know what it means. From the picture, the dish looks cute, nicely presented and appetizing. I never bothered to find out and would never have guessed the 'behind the scenes' of this 'Foie gras', 'a popular and well-known delicacy in French cuisine' (as Wikipedia put it) if Anastasia did not forward me the distressful email this morning.

************
Foie gras, considered by some to be a delicacy, is produced by forcing a long metal pipe down the throats of ducks and geese and force-feeding them massive amounts of grain, resulting in their livers swelling to up to 10 times their normal size.

Two to three times a day, a worker grabs each bird, shoves a long, thick metal tube all the way down his throat, and an air pump shoots up to two pounds of corn mush into his esophagus. The industry always refers to the dry weight of the feed, which is about one pound per feeding. Adding oil and water doubles this weight, making it 20-30% of the bird's healthy body weight. Picture 30 one pound boxes of dry pasta and then add water. This is proportionally how much a 150 pound human would be force fed using this formula.
Picture on the right: Normal duck liver vs force fed duck liver.

A duck's liver naturally weighs around 50 grams. However, to qualify as foie gras, the industry's own regulations require ducks' livers to weigh an absolute minimum of 300 grams.

************
Raw foie gras...
I was terribly shocked to see the production process of this so-called 'delicacy'. There are other foods with great taste out there isn't it?

It's heartbreaking to see what are being done to those innocent ducks. I feel like I'm watching some sort of 'ethnic cleansing' pictures. It's scary, hurtful, depressing and disappointing.

It is most heartbreaking to realize how cruel human being can be and it is not against the law. I can't believe this is being done by my species!

God help us!

I've never come across this dish, let alone taste it... Lucky me!

Just like shark fin soup, people should stop eating this too. Stop torturing the ducks!

Some pictures of foie gras production process, see whether the pictures above still look appetizing:

Force feeding the duck...

















Cages are very small and they force the ducks to stay in one position to avoid using energy, thus converting all food into fat.











Their legs were bloated from long standing everyday. No need to sleep because they will be caught for feeding again....












Although they try to defend themselves But it is useless...














Remember, when the buying stops, the killing can too!

Don't believe me? Read this:
http://www.nofoiegras.org/index.html
http://www.banfoiegras.org/page.php?module=home


You can see a lot more disstressing pictures from the websites above.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

US Navy airshow @ TUDM Subang Airbase

Ok... these are some pictures of the jets that inspired my very long walks yesterday. Due to too much excitement, I only snapped one picture of this jet and it turned out to be really really bad. So I have to borrow this picture from the internet.

Sukhoi Jet (photo by shinobikit) @
http://media.photobucket.com/image/sukhoi%20jet/shinobikit/P6010185.jpg

This jet was really impressive. While it was in the sky, looked like it stopped and hovered there. WOW!!!! This is one jet that you don't want to mess with. But, is there a jet that we want to mess with? Heheheheee... The best thing about this jet was... the pilot waved back when we waved at him... yeayyyy!!!

And then, there were these jets. They said it was F-16. Woooooo... the airshow was impressive. The pilots were skillful. They flew low, they went very high, they did acrobatic moves. The scary part is, you can't hear them when they are approaching. Eeeeee...

Here are some pictures that I managed to snap.
Looked like I can handle my camera as fast as the jets... hihihiiiii...

Another fan of the airshow :)

These airoplanes were not in the airshow... they were landing at Subang Airport.
The jets have to give way to them first.

Can't wait for another airshow. I'll definitely make sure I get to take photos with the jets and its pilots next time!

I'll be back!

Random kindness... again...

Work & leisure intermitten... hihihiii... I should be at CheeJa's open house but I'm in the office instead... *sigh* We got to do what we got to do right?

CheeJa, jangan serik jemput saya lagi yeeee... terima kasih *kiss*

Today I'm gonna write about 'one little act of kindness' again... because lucky me, I got to experience it for the second time yesterday.

My sister & I, we did the craziest thing yesterday. We walked for I don't know how far just to watch the airshow by US Navy at Royal Airforce airbase Subang yesterday. The traffic jam was badddddddd... really bad. We figured that if we walked, it will be faster.

So we did.

From the roundabout before Subang Airport up to the start of the runway at Kampung Melayu Subang. How far is that?

Very far right? We can't believe we are that fit! (although my body is aching today...)

Luckily, yesterday's morning was cloudy... with a few drizzles that we braved through.

But, we managed to see the sukhoi jet... My cousin told us that actually we can go into the airbase to get upclose and personal with the jets. But because we didn't get our facts and information right, we didn't know where exactly we should go to. My fault for not finding enough information... My sister and I were really, really frustrated. But still, yesterday was a great experience. A few people cheered at us for walking that far. Hehehehee... thanks you guys!

And then, after the airshow, we planned to take a bus back to Subang airport... we tried to hail a taxi, but no taxi wanted to take us (what is up with taxis around Subang area?). Our options were, take a bus or walk back... slowly.

So, we started walking towards a bus stop, with a 100 plus isotonic drink in hand.

That's when a car stopped by and offered us a ride.

There were two guys and a teenage boy inside the car. They said they were going towards Subang airport and they can drop us there. We refused at first, mainly because they were strangers. You don't know what kind of psychos roam our land nowadays right?

Actually, we already chatted with those guys during the airshow. They asked what time the show was going to finish and were we from the press? Which we answered 'not sure, maybe 2pm' and 'no'... and few more lines. So, basically they were not totally strangers since we already had a first impression of them. After weighing the pros & cons, we accepted.

Stupid decision? Captain Bala (a safety activist) will knock me silly if he knew I did this.

But, I really went with my gut when deciding that.

Plus, I was starting to feel tired and the afternoon sun started to shine fiercely.

I would say we were really lucky and my gut was right yesterday. Those three people in that car were not psychotic... not even 'menggatal' for a little bit. We really were lucky. They were good and funny people and nice to have conversations with. I even got a few aviation information about the sukhoi jet and on aviation photography. The guy who was driving was really a cool & calm & informative driver. They even dropped us right behind my parked car. That was very kind of them. We were very touched.

We didn't exchange any personal information. That what makes it sincere, isn't it?

All this while, I've started believing that it is hard to find kind and sincere people. People who help other people without expecting any return. But after what happened yesterday, it warms my heart to know that all hope is not lost.

Perhaps, 'kind and sincere people' are on the brink of extinction... but they still exist to spread the goodness around.

You know, during judgement day, we will be questioned about what we did with our lives, properties and belongings. Well, those three good men could say that they helped two tired and very grateful ladies with their car.

That one random act of kindness goes a long way.

To those three good men yesterday, I pray that Allah will return back the favour to you. That one favour might seem small to you guys, but very big to us. Just keep on being kind ok!

To ladies out there, what I did yesterday was not a good example. We need to be very careful and must be able to evaluate the situation and make a smart decision. I was lucky to come across good people. I am very grateful for that and I'm very grateful that Allah kept us safe yesterday. But, in everyday life we must act accordingly. If you think something is not right, then it probably is.

To all of us (especially myself), don't stop being kind. Sometimes it might not mean anything, sometimes we will be misunderstood and sometimes we will not be appreciated. But in the end, it is all between us and God.

May God give us a big heart and the strength to be the person that we're suppose to be.

Have a great life y'all!

The 'frustrated and then grateful' signing out.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Autumn in my head...

If there is no hiccup in this plan and no changes in the schedule, I'll be spending one weekend during this autumn in South Korea. One weekend is just too short... but that's much better than none at all. However, it will be a total of 4 days... almost. I could extend my stay there, but workload is high and I don't want to stress myself out after a happy trip.

I'm praying that there will not be any hiccup or changes or problems with this plan and schedule.

I've been dreaming about autumn for a while now... when work is pressing and I'm on the edge of a nervous breakdown, the images of autumn in my head is what kept me cool. How can it not? Just look at the lovely colors of the leaves... aaaaahhhhh...

I'll try to make the most of this almost 4 days...
My targets:

1. Great autumn landscape pictures...
(I'll be very lucky even if I only manage to get one great picture).

2. Visit all the palaces...
I just love to visit all the historical places.

I do have one problem with this plan...
I might have to go around Korea alone. Traveling alone is fun... just not as fun as traveling with a dear buddy (as I have learned from my own experience).

My dear mother has started worrying... as usual... hihihiiiii...

My plans:
During the almost 2 days...

During the weekend...
I'll bring out the landscape photographer in me.
I haven't decided where to go yet...
I plan to go to one of the national parks.
Maybe in Chungcheongbuk-do.
Just don't know how to get there yet :)


I studied Seoul railmap... oh my gosh... so complicated. hmmmm...

Hope this plan will come true!
Wait for me lovely autumn! I'm coming!

Friday, October 02, 2009

Bercakap Dengan Jin by Tamar Jalis... muahahahhaaaa...

Direct translation... 'Talking to Genie' (correct translation right?)

I finally found a Tamar Jalis's 'Bercakap dengan Jin' blog. Yeaaaayyyyyy... all this while, if I google this title, I couldn't get to a page that have complete stories for even one book. But in this blog, there are 75 stories. I can't wait to start reading!

If you never read any of 'Bercakap dengan Jin' books, then you should start because the stories are sooooooo good. It's true! If you're the type that get scared easily (like me...), don't worry, this is not the kind of story that will haunt you. I think...

I've read these books since I was young (still so young...) and I love it!

This is the cover of the book that I used to read. It was my uncle's :)

During lunch hour today, my gang and I talked about ghost's stories, tv series & movies. The good ones, the bad ones, the real ones... eeeeeee... 'Kekasihku Seru' is still on the top of my list and the blonde sea spirit still cracks me up... I can't think about it without laughing... hahahaaaaa..

We also wondered why is it that we crave scary stories? Although we feel 'tortured' reading, listening or watching these stories, we still keep on going.

My theory was, real life is dull and we need the thrills...

My friend brought up another interesting theory justified by her Japanese friends. She told us, while she was in Japan, she asked her Japanese friends why is it that there are a lot of scary & ghost movies shown during summer. The explanation was interesting... seriously. According to them, summer is hot, so that's why a lot of scary movies were made to give the audience the 'chill'.

Hihihiiii... just interesting.

Anyway, I'm going to start enjoying my time reading 'Bercakap dengan Jin' soon and I hope so will you :)

I've added his link under my 'Friends and Favourites...'

Have fun reading!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Man vs Alien... which is better looking?

I'm in an 'out of this world imagination' mode :)

I just watched 'Star Trek' the movie for the 5th time since I bought the DVD. I watched the movie first at the cinema, but somehow still couldn't get enough of it. It's so good and somehow believable :) The universe, the spaceship, the warp theory (I likeeee...), time travel, the technologies, the charismatic leaders, the fun characters, the special effects, the acting, the directing, the ADVENTURES... woooooo!

While I was watching the movie over and over again, I started thinking 'Wow, this Spock guy is quite good looking, even with pointy ears and a weird face'. Of course Captain George Kirk is still the handsomest (is there such a word?), but for an alien, Spock is quite a catch. No?

Then my thoughts drifted to a question. Why is it that aliens always weird looking?

Sorry, correction... Why is it that aliens invented by human are always naturally weird looking? Are we that vain? Aliens can be good looking too right?

But then again, I'm writing from a human perspective. Those aliens might think that we are the weird looking ones.

I remember one night during university time, I had a conversation with a friend, Mc Ha about the tv series, 'Battlestar Gallactica'. While looking up to the stars we wondered 'What are aliens really like?'. Are they really fierce, ferociuos, always looking to attack us and UGLY? We both agreed to disagree to those questions.

For all we know, they could be just like us... and perhaps that night, they were also looking up to their skies and wondering what those two aliens on planet earth were doing? hihihiiii...

That was a fun imagination.

Anyway... before this wishful thinking saying nite nite, I would like to see an alien movie
which aliens are as oppose to THESE...

(not that 'Yoda' is not cute...)

will look more like THESEEEEE...
wooooo... show me the way to planet gorgeous... hihihihiii...

GOOD LUCK! (Vulcan style :P)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A trip cancelled... *sigh*

We firmly made our decision today, Anastasia & I. This is the second time that we cancelled our plan to visit Jogja. First time, last year… because of the passing of a dear friend (whom I still miss so much). This year, would be the second time. Even though we really, really, really would like to see the ancient and famous Borobudur and Prambanan, looks like our visit there is just not meant to be.

Our plan to visit Jogja has been such a challenge since the beginning, as if hinting that we are really not suppose to be there. Starting from the flight ticket booking last year, to applying leave, to the passing of a dear friend, to ground tour booking… almost everything went wrong. But we ignored all the hints and excitedly plan for the second attempt. We face challenges this round as well. Only that this final challenge really dampened our travelling spirit. Apart from worry for our safety, we are mostly disappointed by the current event.

Would you feel hurt when your flag was torn and burned and your countrymen threatened?

For me, it cut deep and it’s a total disappointment.

I don’t understand why they hate my country and us so much…

*****
Because of an island?

What about when we rushed there to help when there was hit by a tsunami?

Because of a terrorist that we are also against?

What about all the kind donations that we made every time there was hit by earthquakes?

Because of their maids were abused by our employer? (stupid employers by the way… a disgrace to my country)

What about when their maids abuse our employers…

What about the snatches, robberies, rapes, murders… crimes committed by them and all the troubles that they have caused us? (to be clear, not by all of them)

Because of an erroneous advertisement which has been clarified not done by us? What if this error was accidentally included in a series of for example, ‘Enigmatic Europe’? Would they react the same?

Because of a misunderstanding caused by a 3rd party with no bad intention (?) we’re having this dispute?


*****
I thought we are all from the same root, aren’t we? Aren’t most of us from the same religion which ‘Peace’ embedded in its meaning? Are we such a rich country that we can afford this fight in the middle of economic downturn? Do we have so much free time to spend on this quarrel instead of focusing on our developments? Do we really have that much pride, that it clouds our judgments? Do we really think that we can survive without each other?

Their patriotics vow to defend their country.
The truth is, we’re not a lesser patriotics as well.

But, fighting is never an option. We have fought for this freedom and peace for so long. We mean to keep it. We don’t want to lose face to our older generations who had suffered and sacrificed so much to make us a free citizen and a developing nation. By the way, we still have our own 'fights' that we must resolve internally *sigh*

When these kind of things happened, you’ll get flashbacks of all the unfortunate encounters and experiences. I personally have really bad experiences with some of them (bugger! sabarrrr... bulan Ramadhan ni) But, I also have fortunate encounters that I cannot disregard. A good friend that I had who have helped me get through heavy-hearted times. All the late uncles and aunties who settled near my house when they first came here in the early 80s, who were good neighbours. Their children and I used to play together. I have memorable childhood moments with them. Although some of them were not good, but I'm not going to talk about it.

I think a Malay proverb that is most suitable for this current situation would be 'seekor kerbau membawa lumpur habis semuanya terpalit’ . I know that not all of them agree with what is going on there, so let's not be prejudice. Let us pray together that the dark clouds will clear up soon. All these disputes are doing no good for both of us. We have better things to do… a country to develop, a life to improve.

I pray that the blessings of Ramadhan will penetrate into all our hearts. May the approaching Aidilfitri brings the true meaning of ‘Peace’ to all of us.

But still, the sunrise at Borobudur will have to wait…
Until when? Let fate decides...

p/s: To Malaysian leaders, please do something soon. We can't keep on accepting our good name being tarnished every now and then.