Monday, October 3, 2016

I Remember This Date

You can close your eyes to reality but not to memories ~ Stanislaw Jerzy Lec

I remember this date
I would have baked you a cake
I would have bought you a gift
I would have picked you up

We would have dined out
Or went to the theatre
And stayed in the car for hours

And you would have made time
With an eagerness you hid so well

I remember this date
Though the eternal I had hoped
Left suddenly.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Piggy Banks (Part II)

A penny saved is a penny earned. ~ Benjamin Franklin. 

I had two piggy banks for 2015. One was the 52-Week-Challenge piggy bank and the other was the Coin piggy bank.

The 52-Week-Challenge was fun. I was very disciplined and by the last week of 2015, had saved about RM1378. My Coin piggy bank on the other hand, yielded about RM265. I decided to treat myself. End of story, LOL.

For 2016, I have three piggy banks. I am continuing with the two piggy banks mentioned above and added another piggy bank. This third bank is what I call the 1-Ringgit -1-Day Challenge. It was suggested by my BFF. The aim however, is not to reward myself but rather to use it for Qurban. My BFF told me that if I saved 1 Ringgit a day, by the time Raya Haji approaches, I would have saved enough money for Qurban. So I thought, yeah, why not?

Piggy banks are all about discipline and enthusiasm. And they always give you happy endings ^-^

2015 In (Late) Review

Doing this belatedly. Can't help it, I overestimated myself and now suffer from bouts of guilt. To my over-thinking mind, recapping the year that passed is a must, no matter how late. I just hope I can still remember those life-defining moments that happened in 2015. Here goes:

1. Lost a very good friend, Rohaizad, who'd finally gotten his green card and migrated to the States to be with the love of his life. It's not like we've never been separated before. Ro has always moved around, and once in a blue moon he'd come back. But this time it felt different because his leaving has that sense of finality to it. We met for the last time in JB. I'll never forget his enthusiasm and  his almost child-like eagerness to meet up. We had coffee and goofed around at Jalan Dhoby. He was so happy with the farewell gift Lin and I got for him. Two Malaysian recipe books since he loves cooking so much.  I almost burst into tears when I bid him goodbye. He's such a good friend. Luckily we have Whatsapp so we still keep in touch now and then. I miss you, Ro.

                                          Ro was happy with his farewell gifts!

                                         Goofing around at Jalan Dhoby

2. I brought my TESL kids to see a play at KLPAC. I was worried the play would bore the kids but they seemed to enjoy it. This batch was a very enthusiastic lot. Most of them have never seen plays in English and seeing them happy  experiencing theatre for the first time made me happy.

3. I was invited to be a judge for the National Residential School English Drama Competition. It's not something I hadn't  done before but what made this memorable is the presence of Tiara Jacquelina, a passionate advocator of the arts and a very graceful lady, who was kind enough to sponsor the trophies for this competition. It was really an honour to have her grace the competition.

                                                Judging is hard work ^-^

4. I went to Barcelona and Maldives. Barcelona for a conference with Ann, Aniza and Padma from Sunway. I was told I could apply for funding to go to the conference so I applied. After a rigorous application process which really tested my patience, they rejected my application. Like, one day before I was supposed to leave for Barcelona. I went anyway. Luckily I had some money saved. What made the trip worth it was the publication of my papers with Ann in a SCOPUS journal. I had two publications, yeeha! The conference hotel was in the outskirts of Barcelona so most of our time were spent in Sant Boi, a quaint town 30-45 minutes away from Barcelona. It was nice knowing the hotel where we stayed at used to be a castle. But it was also scary. Hehe. Barcelona was nice, and despite horror stories of pick pockets and thieves, we enjoyed ourselves, especially during the visit to Gaudi's signature landmarks such as Park Buell and LeSegrada Familia and to a Flamenco show. Met Bill Philips from University of Barcelona. Quite a nice guy.

                                             Ann and me in Barcelona

Maldives was like a double celebration for me. It was less than two weeks after my birthday and earlier on at the end of August I had submitted my thesis. The Fantastic Four went to Club Med Maldives and had fun, especially in the evening because they had a show every night followed by some clubbing session afterwards. Activities were abundant. I enjoyed the Aqua Zumba. Also enjoyed our one-night transit in Colombo. But this trip really cost me a bomb. Huhu.

                                             Maldives' kinda morning...

5. Also managed to bring my sis, mom, nephew and niece to Melaka for a short holiday. I booked a nice apartment in the middle of Malacca town, equipped with swimming pool.That was the most I could do. I hope they had fun. I hadn't been to a zoo for a long time so took the kids to Melaka zoo. I think I was more excited than them. Hahaha.

                                                    Raya with my family

6. I finally submitted my thesis on 28 August 2015. What a relief! I felt like the whole planet has been lifted off my shoulders! I had gone through so many hurdles and challenges before I could finally submit it. There was that MicrosoftWord challenge which delayed my printing. My proofreader Khalil was also late. My supervisor - well, late should be her middle name. I did the pre-submission seminar - after I got scared out of my shit. Two weeks before my seminar Elham my friend had hers and was verbally attacked after her presentation. I became paranoid and expressed my concern to my supervisor. I told her I didn't want to get attacked like that. Not when I am about to submit my thesis. Luckily my seminar went well.

                                             The day I submitted my thesis!

                                              Celebrating my birthday in class

7. I got involved in a voluntary-basis project with SUTRA Dance Company. SUTRA, whose founder is the legendary Ramli Ibrahim, was involved as one of the organisers for KL International Dance Festival. The event took a month to complete and involved dance groups from all over the world. My part was to help run concerts at the DBKL Auditorium i.e. ushering guests, monitoring audience in the hall. I had fun watching all the dance shows, especially those from Malaysia and India. I also made a lot friends. My proudest moment was when I was invited for a dinner event at Ramli's SUTRA and he thanked me for my part in the event.

                                            A dance show by ASWARA

8. A friend told me about Tinder, an app that connects people who are looking around for people who are looking around. Hehe. It reminds me of those dating websites back in early 2000s, those that Kak Wan urged me to join. Well, I tried it, mainly as a  reward to myself for submitting my thesis. Met a few guys online but I didn't feel any connection - not the kind of connection I used to have with my ex-muse. Bummer. Maybe I still can't get over him *gosh*. Well, maybe I felt some kind of connection with one or two guys but they didn't last long enough. Anyways, what I learnt from Tinder is that it is a VERY promiscuous dating site, most of the guys seem attached in one  way or another (fuck yeah, I can tell) and are there for fun (and fuck, it goes without saying). So after a few weeks of going nowhere, I decided to uninstall it. Yeah. I felt so relieved. I felt liberated. I guess I'm just too old for dating games. Plus, guys nowadays fail to interest me that much. 

To recap, 2015 has been good to me. I had a few hiccups here and there but eventually I stepped into 2016 with peace of mind! Praise be to God, Lord of the Universe.

For last year's words belong to last year's language. And next year's words await another voice.― T.S. Eliot

Monday, March 16, 2015

Piggy Banks

Why do we put money into piggy banks? The reasons are varied but for me, it is a way of rewarding myself.
I don't remember having a piggy bank when I was a child. Back then, I only got money for my school expenses, given by my Mom on a daily basis. The money that I got was only enough to get a decent meal during recess, so I didn't have extra money to put into a piggy bank. I watched with envy every time my Dad put some money into his piggy bank. He would put those small change that he got into his piggy bank, which was made of clay, a replica of a rooster. His reason was obscure to me, but come to think of it, maybe men just do not like carrying coins in their wallets. Or pockets, for that matter.
The only time I would get lots of money was during Hari Raya. I would get some money from my family, uncles and aunties, but that would disappear fast as it would be used to buy whatever I needed. Yup, money was not easy for me to get back then. This is why when I entered university, I worked during semester breaks and sometimes on weekends, so that I earn my own money and need not ask my parents for it.
My parents did not really teach me how to save money but I learned from them indirectly. My Mom's money-saving skills was exemplary. She used to save part of her salary religiously that by the time she retired, she had saved enough money to build a house back in her hometown. Also, throughout her working years, there have been occassions when money was needed and she already had some money handy. Like when she bought two pieces of land in her hometown. Like when she bought me a second-hand desktop so I could do my thesis when I came back home on weekends. Like when she handed me 20k for the downpayment of my first car! She made me speechless every time!
I started saving money when I taught in school. I used to save about 400 ringgit every month, with the aim to travel to UK. Hehehe. But a lot of things happened along the way. I got married and whatnot.  I got divorced. I also had a lot of part time jobs. I saved some of the money I got. I always told myself, if my Mom could do it, so could I. Plus, I've always believed in the need to save up for some rainy days ahead.
So, my point is, I've never had a piggy bank. Until recently. I've always saved my money in banks. About two or three years back, a friend told me about her piggy bank, which, when full of coins, would yield about 400+ ringgit. She would then use the money to top up her car insurance payment. I thought that was really cool!  So I tried it, beginning on 1 January 2013. I bought a piggy bank at a 5 ringgit shop. My target was to save money into the piggy bank for a year. So whatever  small change I had, I would quickly put it into the piggy bank. I would do this almost daily. So by 31 December 2013, I got about 300+ ringgit! I'd always intended to use the piggy bank money to reward myself. So I got myself an Armani watch at JPO.  I've always liked Armani watches anyway. The same thing happened by 31 December 2014. I got about 200+ ringgit. I got less savings this time around because the coins have shrunk in size, a move by Bank Negara that has baffled me until today.  Hehehe. With that money, I managed to get a good deal on an Armani watch. I was happy!
This year, 2015, I added another piggy bank. Thanks to a pin I came across on Pinterest, this second piggy bank is a piggy bank of notes. Yup! The whole idea is called The 52-Week Money Challenge. The image below illustrates this challenge: 

So, by week 52, 31 Dec 2015 to be exact, I would have a total of 1378 ringgit! Isn't that a wonderful way to close 2015 and welcome 2016? As of now, it's already the 12th week of 2015. I have actually saved up about 66 ringgit! Woohoo! So far I've been doing this with great discipline. Every weekend, I would mark in my calendar how much I've put away for the second piggy bank. Just so as not to lose track. 

See ;-)? 

As of now, I still haven't decided what I'll do with the money. Maybe go on a shopping spree. Or a short holiday somewhere. We'll see! Whatever it is, I'll reward myself. If I don't do that, nobody will ^-^ ! 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Hats and Such

I was a Victorian lady last weekend ^-^

A friend had thrown a birthday party for his teenage daughter. The theme was 'Garden Party'. A quick google confirmed that this kind of theme would entail hats. I have always liked wearing hats. Or caps, for that matter. If it is socially acceptable in my culture to wear hats around the clock, I would gladly do so. But, nah. I get to wear a hat only when the occasion arises. 
I had not bought a hat for a long time. So naturally I had to find one, to suit the 'Garden Party' theme. Went to Mid Val but the hats there were so expensive! I was reluctant to buy because of the probability that I would only wear it once. Victorian-style hats are occasion-specific, I think. 
How I ended up with a nice hat, at the last minute, at a very cheap price, was funny! I had walked into a shop at my housing area because I thought I'd look for a flower hair clip or hair band to wear to the party. Then I saw this very nice, dainty-looking hat. I reached for it and saw the price tag. RM16.90!!! I couldn't believe my eyes! The same-looking hat would cost me RM89.90 at Mid Val! I quickly dashed to the cashier and paid for it, thanking divine providence for such a blessing! And this happened two hours before I was supposed to leave for the party! 

How a hat makes you feel is what a hat is all about. ~ Philip Treacy

Friday, January 30, 2015

Rakish Inc. III

Times have changed. And so has my wall of Rakish Inc.! Hehe. Well, some men are simply God's gifts to humanity! 

1. Luke Evans

Never has there been a sexier Dracula! 

2. Mads Mikkelsen

Some men are like wine. They get better with age. And a royal affair! 

3. James Franco

I like funny men! 

4. Cristiano Ronaldo

Not a football fan but this guy sure makes football a lot sexier! 

5. Ebizo Ichikawa XI

A samurai as rakish as this? Why not? 

A man's face is his autobiography. ~ Oscar Wilde