Thursday, October 28, 2004

Bangkok and Back

Well, took me a while to sit my butt down and let you guys know I’M HOME! Didja miss me?

Anyway, Bangkok was a blast. Three days was not enough – which means I’m definitely going back! I was there with a bunch of reporters and photographers. It was sponsored by Air Asia, who now flies direct to Bangkok from Kota Kinabalu (ehem, doing a bit of promo on my bit here…). Bangkok is a huge city, complete with skytrains, subways, flyovers, towers…The works. But made the city unique were the huge temples and palaces, built smack dab in the middle of the city. They’ve retained a lot of old buildings too so you get to see a fusion of old and new. Quite a spectacle. Visiting temples is a real tourist-y thing to do but I would encourage anyone to check out at least one during their visit (warning: there is such thing as ‘temple overkill’ – no more than three in a day and you’ll be fine!). I guess the most popular one would be Wat Pho, where you can find the biggest statue of Buddha in the world. Before I went in, I figured, gee how big could it be?

Trust me, it’s BIG.

And beautiful. I actually stood in awe for a good five seconds before I realized I was holding up the line. The Buddha is lying on his sides and when you reach the soles of his feet, you’ll notice they’re inscribed with ancient scriptures and pictures. I think it tells a story or something. Fascinating stuff. But the most enlightening experience was when I went to the temple of the meditating Buddha (situated within Wat Pho but a bit of a walk from the main building). The minute I entered and knelt down, I was washed over by a sense of calm. I don’t mean to be dramatic but seriously…I haven’t felt that in a long time. The Buddha is sitting in the usual lotus position (legs crossed) and there are five disciples surrounding him. Flowers and candles illuminate the temple and there are age-old drawings on the walls. And it’s so quiet, even when it’s filled with people. Now, I’m a Catholic but I have to admit I have a new-found admiration and respect for Buddhism. I understand now that it’s not so much a religion as it is a belief. A way of life. I was told that Buddha’s main lesson to mankind was to be responsible for their actions.

I think that makes complete sense.

Also, I learned that the Thai people are not only religious but VERY fond of their King. A joke that starts with, “Have you heard the one with the King and Queen…?” would not bode well here unless you want to be fed to the many giant pythons found in the Land of Smiles. Speaking of huge reptiles. I took a photo with a seven-foot python. Took some convincing and when the guy finally wrapped the critter around my shoulders, I nearly died. First of all, it was heavy. Ok, I told myself, no problem. And THEN…it started to wriggle. And I could feel the muscles rub against my body. EEEEW! And the more I freaked out, the more it wriggled. I could almost hear him say, “Wow, dinner’s served!”

On a less wriggly note, I also got up close and personal with a baby elephant. It was so adorable. I want one for Christmas.

Ooh and one of the highlights would definitely be having dinner on board a ship, cruising down the Chao Praya river. First off, the food was excellent. After that, we adjourned to the top deck where a live band was playing. As I enjoyed the breeze, I was totally mesmerized by the skyline of Bangkok. Tall towers and ancient temples were lit up along the banks. We even cruised beneath several bridges, with people waving to us from above. It was such an amazing experience. But a word of warning – being alone and surrounded by lovey dovey couples under the Bangkok stars can be damaging to your emotional state. Heh.

And shopping? Well, we were only given some three hours of shopping throughout three days. The shopping malls are impressive but it’s the night markets that’ll give you a retail orgasm (I got mine at Suan Lum Night Market. Yes, yes OH YES!) . First tip: Bargain like your life depended on it. And there’s only one thing to do after this: buy, buy, buy! And it’s not an urban legend: Things can get really cheap over here. I got some pretty good bargains but I don’t think I exhausted my wallet enough. There’s always next time…

Anyway I’ll let the photos do the talking. Bangkok hasn’t seen the last of me yet.

“You to me are everything, the sweetest song that I can sing…Oh baby, oh baby!”
- You To Me Are Everything, The Real Thing (one of my favourite feel good songs)

The Grand Palace. Amazing piece of architecture. Mind you, that's just the Main Hall behind me. The whole palace is five times the size of the main hall! Posted by Hello

Me in my element...Shopping diva! Posted by Hello

Do i really need to explain what's happening here? Posted by Hello

The holiday begins!  Posted by Hello

Cruising the Chao Praya river Posted by Hello

Friday, October 22, 2004

Hello Bangkok!

I’m going to Bangkok tonight. Yep, the office is sending me on a media familiarization trip. I thought my boss was joking when she told me. I told her, “Ok ok, seriously…Is it Tawau or Sandakan again this time?” But yes, my friends, I am actually heading to Bangkok!

I’m pretty excited. I haven’t traveled to anywhere remotely exotic in the last couple of years. I think the last overseas trip was to the Gold Coast two years ago. So many places to see…And so little funds to spare, haha.

I have a friend, Edmund, who is doing what most of us talk about doing or would like to do or wish we could do (you get the pic). He’s backpacking around Europe. Basically, he applied for a two-year working visa and is –technically- based in London. So here’s a guy whom upon graduating uni, packed his bags, moved to London and is working four jobs to survive and travel. After working several weeks, he saves enough money to hop from one country to another. When that’s done, he returns to London, works some more…And repeats the globe-trotting cycle. It’s amazing, I tell you. He sends me postcards every week and tells me about places I’ve never even heard off! He went to Florence, Rome, Assisi and the last time I heard he was one the way to Croatia. I can’t remember half the places he’s been to. I’ve put up his postcards on my office wall as a reminder there’s more to the world than Kudat and KL.

Maybe someday I’ll get to send my friends postcards too :)

"All my bags are packed...I'm ready to go,"
-Leaving On a Jet Plane and for the life of me, I can't remember who the original singer is.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

PMS is the strangest thing. Lethal, but strange. Maybe not so much strange, more like…Fascinating. Perhaps not on the receiving end anyway. I was observing an individual in my office – whom shall remain unnamed because this blog could fall into the wrong hands, mind you – and saw her transform from a jolly upbeat person to a cross-breed of the mother-in-law from hell and the meanest Ah Nyong selling mee goreng at the school canteen. If she’s not quietly seething, she’s pissed at everything/one else around her. And then next thing you know…She invites me and my colleagues for lunch. Dare you decline? Man, if she wanted us to do the Macarena naked in the street, we would have probably said yes just to make her happy. I say probably because I really hate doing the Macarena.

Har har.

But to be fair, I’m guilty of PMS myself. Thing is, I never had a problem with it until I reached my twenties. Or perhaps I only REALISED it then. Wow. First there’s the food cravings. From the usual chocolate bar to the real oddities like…Bak kut teh. And then there’s the mood swings. I pity the fool who stands in my way at this time of the month. Like last Saturday, I snapped at Wilson in the car because he wouldn’t turn on the light so I could put my lipstick on. When he finally did, I turned it off and said, “Forget it lah, I’ll do it in the dark.” Enter awkward silence. And then Lester pokes me from the back seat and mouths, “What’s wrong?” And I roll my eyes. Waaaaah, bitchy overload man…

I felt so bad after that but I’m lucky my guy friends are so wonderfully understanding, muah muah (love you guys…I promise to be nice for the next 28 days). Oh and then there’s the crying. Yep, the one where every song/picture/ad on tv makes you tear up.
“My God did you guys hear the Nescafe ad on the radio this morning….? Sob sob.”

I read something really funny in a magazine – ok albeit at the female population’s expense – about women and that time of the month. A guy wrote, “How can you trust something that bleeds for five days and doesn’t die?”

Come on, you have to admit that’s kinda funny.

“I’m a bitch, I’m a lover, I’m a child, I’m a mother, I’m a sinner, I’m a saint.
I do not feel ashamed. I’m your hell, I’m your dream, I’m nothing in between.
You know you wouldn’t want it any other way…”

-Meredith Brooks, with her oh-so-true rendition of “Bitch”

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Have you heard this one...?

A guy goes to the doctor for a checkup and the doctor says, "Well sir, I have bad news and I have worse news".
The guy says, "Well gimme the worst news first".
The doc says, “Well sir you have Cancer".

The guy says "That's terrible news, but what’s the bad news?"
The doc says "Well sir, you also have Alzheimers disease".

"Well", answers the guy, "at least I don't have Cancer".

Hahahahahahaha, this really made my Monday. Be back with more things to ramble about.

“Well I feel just like you, and I cry just like you.
But I heal just like you. And under my skin, I’m just like you,”

- Keb’ Mo’, Just Like You, from the ‘One Fine Day’ soundtrack, playing in the office.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Sad songs.

You notice how some songs are just so sad? Sometimes we just sing along without really listening or thinking of what the lyrics are saying. I notice that when i'm driving alone, that's when i REALLY listen to songs. Like word for word. Sometimes the song just breezes through your head but there are always one or two songs that strike a nerve or make you go, "hmm."

One of the songs that makes me tear up is Butterfly Kisses. You know the one about the father who's singing to the daughter? He's telling her how she's growing up so fast but she'll always be his little girl. Damn. I always get teary, especially the part where he sings about her wedding day and that "she'll change her name today". Makes me think of my daddy :)

Another sad song is Toni Braxton's 'How Could An Angel Break My Heart?' I mean, you don't have to go through that kind of heartache but if you listen to the lyrics, you can almost feel the longing and pain.

"I wonder if she makes him smile
The way he used to smile at me
I hope she doesn't make him laugh
Because his laugh belongs to me."

- Toni Braxton, How Could An Angel Break My Heart?

ouch. Also Josh Groban. Ok, so this guy has a dramatic voice to start off with. And while most of his stuff might sound like Pavarotti in training, take a listen to Broken Vow:

"Tell me his name I want to know
The way he looks and where you go.
I want to see his face, I need to understand,
How you and I came to an end..."
(enter sad puppy eyes and trembling lower lip)

And finally, something by Heather Headley called I Wish I Wasn't:

"I wish i wasn't in love with you...So you couldn't hurt me."

Makes sense doesn't it? The person you love the most is also the person who can break you. Doesn't matter if other people slight us but if it's someone close, like a family member or boyf/gf, ouch.

It's like if you're rude to a random stranger on the street, you forget about it within 30 seconds but if you accidentally snap at your mum and you see the stunned look on her face, you feel this big.

Anyway, enough love songs for the day. Happier updates later. Big hug to all.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

When the world is being a real pain and nothing's going right, here's the one person that makes me smile no matter what - My niece, Leilana.  Posted by Hello

Monday, October 11, 2004

Red, red wine.

I am so glad my day is almost ending. Monday has never been my favourite day anyway but today is just exceptionally sucky. Er...with no one to blame but myself.

Last night I attended the Kinabalu Shell Press Awards. I'm no longer with the press but my company bought a table at the event so I ended up hanging out with my old buddies. Anyway, long story short, there was plenty of wine. Red, red wine beckoning me with its evil ruby glint, promising happier -but delusional- times. And so I drank. And drank. And drank. And danced. Danced until I was thirsty. So i drank some more. Next thing I know, I'm clinging on to Haw who's trying to steer me to his car, whilst I'm singing some Abba song, precariously teetering on my black heels. I was deliriously happy, unaware it was three a.m and I was on the brink of one of the worst hangovers in my life.

Enter Monday morning, 6:30am. First of all, everything is TOO bright. And too loud. Then my insides begin to wake up too. They're not too happy, I discover. Hence i begin my morning love affair with the toilet boil, making my hair smell like Eau De Puke. Shower, change, room still spinning, the sight of breakfast makes my stomach tighten again. My dad has to send me to work because I swear I'm still tipsy. I'm not even sure if I'm walking straight. The floor keeps moving. Damn floor. Anyway, I've puked four times in the office, and everyone just can't resist telling me I look like crap.

Gee oh my, I wonder why.

Anyway, I really wanna go home and sleep right now. I swear I can still taste the red wine, clinging onto my tongue. Ugh. Happier times tomorrow, people.

Over and out.

"I hope you don't mind, that i put down in words,
How wonderful life is now you're in the world."
- Your Song by Elton John. Fuzzy song that reminds me of my baby.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Won't worry my life away

Just quoting Jason Mraz. I hate deadlines. It's been on my mind the last few weeks. Being in this line of work means deadlines are a way of life. I think it's the only sucky part of my career so...I guess i can't complain. There's just so much to do: write the stories, get the photos, make sure the layout is in order and once everything is supposedly done, there are ALWAYS changes. Always always always. So I'm thinking of working extra hours on Monday.

But it's Saturday so i won't think too much about Monday. Last night i met up with friends and went to Shenanigan's for some good music and good fun :) I called an early night though. It's no fun going to work groggy and cranky. It's almost lunch time and i am so glad the work day is over.

I was chatting with Melina, my colleague, about winning the lottery (somehow i always think of Yolanda when someone mentions the lottery...hmm). If I won RM3 million (ok don't ask why RM3 million and not just RM1 million. This is MY fantasy, ok?), I would:

1) bank in RM1million and live off the interest
2) pay off debts for my family
3) have a lucky draw for the office. Like this: every month, I'd fulfill someone's wish. They put their 'wants' in a basket (like a trip to Europe or to have a piece of land in Kudat or something...) and every month, someone's dream gets fulfilled.
4) treat my friends like crazy
5) open an animal shelter
6) buy shoes.

The list is endless if you think about it. Such happy thoughts for the weekend. Oh speaking of happy thoughts, here's a little something to jumpstart your weekend:

Such a sucker for these tests. You'll enjoy it too!

"the remedy is the experience. It is a dangerous liaison
I say the comedy is that its serious. Which is a strange enough new play on words
I say the tragedy is how you're gonna spend the rest of your nights with the light on
So shine the light on all of your friends because it all amounts to nothing in the end

- Jason Mraz, Remedy

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Shits and giggles.

Just a strange phrase i remember a colleague saying to me. And it wasn't said in the best context mind you. Ok, let's make a long drama-rama short. Basically, we were discussing the science of inter-gender friendships (i dunno if there's such a thing but it sounds quite clever kan?). Anyway, I was telling him how i have plenty of platonic male friends and that they don't have to be complicated (as my colleague believes so). He thinks a true platonic friendship with a girl cannot exist because someone always ends up falling for the other.

Can you imagine if every boy-girl friendship had to face that?

Anyway, he asked me why I bothered being friends with him because he couldn't seem to grasp the concept of a girl who just wants to 'be friends' (Yes, some guys do appear to be from another planet). And hence he said, "Cuz i don't stick around girls for shits and giggles if it's not going to lead to something more."

Yeah, needless to say we now have a very awkward friendship. Because:
a) i just want to be friends and nothing more and he can't comprehend this idea.
b) i'm offended because I like to think i offer more than shits and giggles to a friendship. (i'm starting to get really annoyed with that term....)

So what's a girl to do? You want to be friends - normal friends - and do stuff friends do but at the same time, I don't want him to turn around and say I led him on. Because, lets face it, this guy has a warped idea of boy-girl friendships. I can't change the way he thinks and he can't change mine.

Ah well, can't have 'em all.

Men aside, I read something really interesting in The Star today. Howard University student Jillian Clarke won an Ig Nobel Prize for her 'five-second rule' on dropped food. Get this: Food on the floor is safe to eat as long as it hasn't been on the ground for more than five seconds. Haha, how cool! The bacteria apparently 'jumps' on the food within these five seconds so the longer its on the floor, the dirtier it gets. And, for the record, women are more likely than men to eat food retrieved from the floor.

Proof that we can be just as gross, yeah!

I've eaten a lemon cheesecake off the floor before. Can anyone top that?

And here's what's on the radio right now...
"When you're gone, baby it's time to move on..."
-Kotak Mancis 20 aka Matchbox 20, When You're Gone

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Pringles, Chewies and Chocolates

I'm such an oinker. I realise i haven't stopped munching/chewing/swallowing since i came into work this morning! And it's only 1pm mind you. Lunch time....Gee, more reason to eat!
Let's see, this morning i had a simple breakfast of eggs on toast and a glass of water. When I got into the office, I could smell sandwiches and lo and behold, my colleague, Haw (pronounced How) was making a gorgeous number: toasted bread filled with peppered sausages, tomatoes, lettuce and cheese. Yum. He offered me a piece. I couldn't refuse. To add crunch, I enjoyed the sandwich with a handful of Sour Cream & Onion Pringles....Yummers.

When i was done with that, I needed something sweet. Dig, dig, dig my bag and find a box of Mentos Plus Orange Juice chewies. Oh and Cadbury Crunchie Nuggets (which is staring back at me right now...). An hour later - yes ladies and gentlemen, only 60 minutes later - I whip out a packet of soup (u know those just add water types) and I'm treating myself to some Chicken Noodle broth.

From then until now, I've been popping a combination of pringles, chewies and chocolates into my mouth. Yes i'm starting to feel sick but it doesn't end there, noooooooo far from it. Today our GM decides to treat the whole office to buckets of KFC! Darn. Too hard to resist. So i chew on a drumstick and decide that's enough for the day. But Haw's just run out to buy Cheesy Wedges (my favouritest food from KFC!) . I really should stop eating. I dunno why i'm bingeing like this. PMS? Not that time of the month yet. I'm just feeling greedy. Ok ok, after the cheesy wedges i'm gonna stop eating.

Thing is, I'm dying for a Coke right now.

"Food glorious food!"
- from the musical Oliver!

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

My boss, Collyn, and I at the 18th Mt. Kinabalu International Climbathon. Posted by Hello

Sneezy Tuesday.

I can't stop sneezing. And my nose is running. And my eyes are watery and puffy and about to pop out. So yes, I look extremely attractive right now and to top it off, I'm at work. What a great way to start the morning.

The weather has been merciless lately. Strong winds, heavy and sudden rains ever few hours. Needless to say, it's a bitch to go out and the price of seafood just went up. Newspaper reports say it's going to last another two to three days at least. Excellent.

I'm still recuperating from my mountain trip over the weekend. I don't feel so tired anymore but still lazy to report for work, heh heh. Can you blame me? Since Friday, we've been having four a.m wake up calls, working in cold, COLD, wet and slippery conditions and to top it off, boozing sessions every night. So if you do the math: wake up at four, work till evening, booze till 3am...that leaves, hmm, an hour of sleep each day.

My idea of living dangerously, haha.

Yesterday -bloody Monday- was a blur. Just couldn't wait to go home and shut down for the rest of the day. Today I plan to be productive. Sorta. I've got loads of articles to compile and write for November's issue and the deadline's approaching. Still haven't done much. Hmm.

Also living dangerously here.

"I'll spread my wings and i'll learn how to fly,
I'll do what it takes till i touch the sky
And i'll make a wish, take a chance, make a change.
And breakaway."
- Kelly Clarkson, Breakaway.

Pretty cool tune. Didja know it was written by Avril Lavigne? Little fact for the day.