Friday, May 30, 2008

Harley Fever!

Take your pick!

The HOG Rally is in town! No, it's not a bunch of squealing oinkers. HOG stands for Harley Owners' Group and this year, Sabah is the host for the 5th Malaysia National HOG Rally. Now I've never been quite the biker chick but seeing these babies up close is pretty exciting stuff. Yes, I discriminate: I find those 'kap chai' bikes damn annoying but you can put me on a Harley any day!
From the 29th of May to the 2nd of June, here is your chance to meet and greet real-life biker 'dudes' AND 'chicks' - yep, leather and tattoos and all! A majority of them are from around Malaysia but we also have a handful from the US, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore and Australia to name a few. My company is one of the organisers and handlers so I have the privilege of traipsing around the West Coast of Sabah with them.
Biker chick in the making?
Closer to KK, you can catch them at Shangri-La's Tanjung Aru Resort this Sunday, 1st June during their charity run. There will be bike auctions, rides for the orphans and many other activities.
I took this on our way back from Tenom, one of the routes during the rally. How absolutely awesome to trailblaze those hilly roads on a Harley!
On Saturday, they'll be making their way to Kundasang Memorial Park and Kota Belud. So if you see a huge convoy of Harleys, give them a big, fat, warm welcome - Sabah style! They're pretty hard to miss. Ok, I'm off to Kundasang!

Friday, May 23, 2008

All by myself. Sorta.

In a noisy, polluted and ever-changing city filled with people who never seem to stop and smell the wilting roses, I am celebrating the temporary sweetness of solitude. I am currently in K-Hell – sorry, KL – for a week, mainly to attend a meeting and a 2-day course. But my meeting is over and my course only starts on Monday and I figured I’d take the time in between to be with me, myself and the craziness of KL. I started the day waking up slow – a luxury we all take for granted, rolled around in the sheets and engrossed myself in a made-for-tv movie about a woman who ran over her cheating husband with her Mercedes, not once but three times. Nice.I walked around KL city alone, aimlessly and merely for the sake of walking until I got hungry. I finally settled for beef lasagna and overpriced iced lemon tea at Dome Café. My editor in KL sends me an sms to remind me off my impending deadline (oops) and so here I am at Starbucks e-mailing him my final draft. I’m off to meet him after this should I ever get off my procrastinating ass. Sigh. I’ve got three whole days of immersing myself in KL before the ‘business’ side of my trips kicks in.

You know, as I edited my story for the THIRD bleeding time and clicked on ‘send’ to my editor, I dawned on me that I could do this for a living. Live in this crazy city, watch people go by, drink RM14.00 ice blended chocolate and just type away on my laptop – AND get paid for it. Thing is, I don’t have the balls to up and leave the comforts of KK and my job and my whole life and become a full-time freelance writer. How would I pay my rent? How can I afford my shoe fetish? How can I sleep at night not knowing where my next paycheck will come from?

Don’t mind me. Maybe it’s just the KL air. I’m off to find my way to Titiwangsa. Hope I don’t end up in Seremban.

"When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me. Speaking words of wisdom. Let it be."
- The Beatles, Let It Be. Perhaps I should.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Here we go again.

Yep, another birthday come and gone.

Let's compare notes, shall we?

My birthday entry last year:
"Another year gone.Older. Hopefully wiser. But definitely happier....There's a complete myth about getting older. It's not about the wrinkles, the extra weight we pile on over the years, the pressure to settle down with 2.5 kids or making more money. It's about finally feeling comfortable in your own skin. I'm older. And i'm lovin' it."

Wow, was that only a year ago? Reading back my entry, I recall being in a such a happy place at that time. Makes me smile. I still praise the Lord for giving me another year but I can say I have since relocated from that Happy Place.

I don't know where I am. Everyday is a blur and if I can get by with a smile on my face, that's good enough for me now.

Thank you for all your birthday wishes - I had plenty of reasons to smile yesterday. Maybe next year, I'll have a better birthday entry and if not...Well, it'll still be an interesting read. Watch this space.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

The Greatest Love Story Ever

He saw her cycling to school one day. “She’s our new English teacher,” informed his younger brother. One glance was all it took and his heart was set forever. Never mind that she had no idea he existed. Never mind that she already had a steady boyfriend of three years. Never mind that she seemed way out of his league.

And so began his pursue. He would write her letters. And eventually even mustered up the courage to say hello to her personally, sweaty palms and all. She was friendly but nothing more. He made the gallant move of finding her home and introducing himself to her stern father, stating his sincere interest in his eldest daughter (after all, that was what they did in their day). She entertained his courting moves but she remained unmoved. He was a charming young man but surely not her type.

But he never gave up.

It was a whirlwind romance you might say because five months later, he proposed. There was much objection but no obstacle would prove to be a challenge for a couple in love. Her father agreed on an engagement but she was to return to the Philippines, their homeland, thereafter. A wedding would take place only much later. He would not have it, this young man of 22, for he knew it was a ploy to bring her as far away as possible from him. He would marry her right there and then – and nothing would stop him. “You’re crazy! He’s not suitable for you!” cried her friends. But she knew she had found the man she would spend the rest of her life with. It was beyond comprehension for her friends and family but made all the sense in the world to her.

On May 6th, 1967, my parents tied the knot in a small church in Papar.

My father has always told me that when a man has his heart set on something he really desires, nothing will stop him from achieving it. “I didn’t have a penny to my name and to be honest, I had no idea what kind of future was in store. But none of that mattered because I had the woman I loved right by my side and together, we braved it all,” he said.

And then he would always say to me, “Melissa, marry a man who will stop at nothing to be with you. Love makes no excuses, doesn’t bargain nor does it make you feel worth less than you really are. If a man truly loves you, there is no such thing as an obstacle.”

He and my mother are a testament of that for 41 years.

Happy anniversary, Mum and Dad. In a world where hearts are broken everyday, I only have to listen to the two of you bickering about the remote control and know there's hope for me yet, haha!

Friday, May 02, 2008

Sabah Fest fever!

This is what's occupying so much of time these days. Quick details for those not in the know:

WHERE: Magellan Grand Ballroom

WHEN: 3rd & 4th May 2008, Sat and Sun

TIME: 7:00pm

TICKETS : RM 30.00 per night

WHAT: Sabah Fest is an annual cultural extravaganza organised by Sabah Tourism Board and its wholly owned subsidiary Sri Pelancongan Sabah (that's us!) . Entering its 20th year, this is the best time to see an assemblage of Sabah's colourful ethnic groups who will proudly display their culture through song, dance, food, costumes and handicraft.

The 8:00pm concert is a one-hour cultural performance, showing rarely-seen traditional performances including the Igal Tabawan of the East Coast district of Semporna (really cool dance with long metallic fingernails!), the feet-stomping Dansa of the Cocos people and, my favourite, a performance by some 30 children from SK Pangkulian Tambunan called 'Pangkulian'. A Murut-inspired dance, it shows off the many talents of these students who came all the way from Tambunan to entertain you! The highlight this year is the showcase of a mixed-wedding ceremony between a Murut groom and Bajau bride. Of course, there will also be the Magunatip (the bamboo dance of the Murut people), the Sumazau Penampang and Papar, Mongigol Dusun Tindal by the Kota Belud group and many more. GET YOUR TICKETS NOW! You can purchase them at Sri Pelancongan in Sinsuran or at Sabah Tourism Board over at Gaya Street. But if you really can't decide now...try your luck at the ballroom ticket counter on either night. Just RM30.00 for a cultural show at its grandest scale held only once a year - I promise you it will be worth every penny!

In the foyer of Magellan's grand ballroom, there will be an ongoing exhibition on handicraft, traditional spa treatments, food, beverage and many other interesting stalls. You can also don a traditional costume and have your photo taken! This will be going on from 10am to 10pm on both days and entrance is FREE.

Oh and on the 5th and 6th of May, the festivities continue at Sabah Museum's Heritage Village. The respective ethnic groups will play host to selected houses, displaying rituals seldom seen such as the Mamahui house-cleansing ritual (Dusun tindal house) and the Bajau Penansang ritual which is performed to heal a sick person. Outside, check out the various fun contests for all to try including bamboo stilt-walking, blowpipe and slingshot competitions. There will also be a cultural show at the main stage at 11:00am and 3:00pm. Entrance fee only RM10.00! The event will take place from 10:00am to 5:00pm on both days so don't miss it :)

So come support our efforts to promote Sabah's melting pot of cultures. I'm off to rehearsals. See you there!