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Thursday, September 30, 2010

faithless Action

In the things that we do, let it be study, work or play, we always do it with the belief that we will achieve something. We study believing that doing so puts us one step closer to a better grade, working with the hope that we will get our tasks out of the way and secure our jobs or playing with the expectation to have a good time. It simply means, there’s purpose in doing what we do. Of course sometimes, ‘purpose’ of things we do can be smaller compared to others, but its still a purpose and is reason enough for us individually.

Still, in spite of already having these reasons to act the way we do, questions that ask what is the purpose of life come around. What is the big scheme of things and where do I fit in? Sometimes, as we go about searching for that answer, we lose ourselves and forget where we’re going because we’ve been sidetracked by something. That’s when even the reasons we first had for living become blurred and eventually disappear from sight. For the first time perhaps, we experience what it means to be in limbo. We still do what we do, but we are no longer motivated, no longer inspired, just living for the sake of not dying.

If you’ve ever played an electronic game or watched a movie that has zombies or un-dead people walking about, you’ve seen a good example of what I’m writing about here. They’re all living things that have no sense of real purpose or a proper direction, yet they still move forward. Lifeless, it would seem the only mission they would have is to stay alive. Faith to them, is non-existent.

The bible does have things to say about how faith complements action, saying that one cannot sustain itself without the other. Here’s a few excerpts from James 2:

‘What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?’ (v14)

‘But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds and I will show you faith by what I do.’ (v18)

You would probably notice that those statements were discussing the topic from the opposite direction, that the problem is people talking a lot and doing nothing, which is true. Still, the opposite is true as well, just as faith without action is useless, it is just as pointless for there to be action without faith.

I know that my purpose comes from my faith, where I live to love God and I know that He loves me too. I know that He’s got the best in store for me and as I trust Him and do things as He tells me, some of the most bizarre yet incredible things can happen. The bible’s got proof of that, James 2:20-22 says:

‘You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.’ 

If you have no idea what the passage above was about, you should probably read the whole story here.

Faith is no stranger to people that have achieved great things that people did not expect out of them because they knew that without it, it wouldn’t happen. Faith not only gives a reason to do something, but it also gives a belief to hope for something good that has yet to happen. That’s how I know that actions can become so much more meaningful and powerful when we have faith.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

job Call

I’ve mentioned time and again on this blog that I’ll be completing my studies come end of the year, which will probably mark the beginning of another phase of my life. Of course, the next phase is about me working to earn a living of my own.

A few months back, all the final semester students including myself handed over our resumes over the the Student Support Services department. Apparently, they sent these resumes to their associate partners which include companies such as PETRONAS, Exxon Mobil, KPMG, Proton, Accenture, MIMOS,  and so forth. I guess that helped quite a bit as far as job hunting was concerned. Of course, myself as a PETRONAS sponsored student, went through an interview by them too. Getting an offer from companies like those would certainly be a pretty sweet deal.

Exxon Mobil Fidani Chocolate  A sweet job option?


As I said, I’d already been through my PETRONAS job interview, but I hadn’t heard about anything else from other companies. Actually, I’m a bit confused myself whether I should be applying for jobs with other companies now, or only later after I find out if PETRONAS takes me in or not. At the moment, I haven’t personally submitted any job applications. I suppose my mind was set on settling these things only after my final exams concluded. Interviews with other firms didn’t seem to be in the current scheme of things, at least not until 2011.

Fate wouldn’t have it that way though. Something happened during the mid-semester break that did surprise me. It was probably only 30 minutes since I’d woken up, and I had just switched on my laptop. I admit I have the bad habit of turning on the computer first thing in the morning, but I’m not blogging to focus on that. Anyway, I sat down ready to browse the internet when my phone rang. I wondered who it was? Maybe it was one of my parents calling, just to check on me or something.

“Hello?”

“Good morning, is this Christon?”

“Uh yes, speaking.”

“Hi, I’m from Exxon Mobil.”

Exxon Mobil Malaysia HQ The Exxon Mobil office, five minutes walk from the PETRONAS Twin Towers.

I was stunned. Fortunately, my mind’s reflexes weren’t to weak at that point so I was able to comprehend what was going on. It wasn’t as bad as the time I got a call from hitz.FM, when I almost hung up because I was nervous about being feature live on national radio. Still, I got over that and won a HP Mini 1000 out of it, haha!

Actually, I didn’t think the call was about a job offer. I thought the call was about a potential internship opportunity with Exxon Mobil. The reason I thought that way was because I received a call regarding internship from Siemens in April, four months after my internship was over. That in particular, left me somewhat bittersweet, and you can read about that here.

The lady over the phone told me, it wasn’t about an internship, and all I could muster at that moment was, “Oh, okay.”

The interview didn’t last long, they asked two questions:

1. Tell me about yourself.

2. Tell me about your strengths and weaknesses.

I admit that I struggled a bit to answer the questions, and I just tried to remember what I’d said in the PETRONAS interview, since I’d been asked that back then too. Before ending the call, the interviewer told me that if I’d passed, Exxon Mobil would call me for a second round of interview. Many people from the ICT and BIS programme in UTP got the call apparently, and some people missed the calls unfortunately. Still, what matters was I did pick mine up and did the best I could at the time.

Its incidents like this that can make you wonder, “What does the future really hold in store for me?” After all, you can’t really plan life and that’s why you hardly hear both words in the same sentence.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

make Better

Quite some time back in July, a friend and I were at One Utama, going for a movie. While walking, we stumbled upon one of the weekend events that was happening at the new wing, at the area close to the Tommy Hilfiger and Delicious outlets. 

What caught our eye was the fashion show that was just about to start. We were both a little curious so we hung around there for a bit. The event’s name was Paper Fantasy and I was a little clueless as to what the event was for, but it was obvious it was a little about creative arts since there were models and some paper displays.

Model @ Paper Fantasy 2010    
A model showing off some paper fashion

I’ll say this, the designs looked rather funny to me, although I will say a lot of fashion I see on runways do look more like collector items than they do as wearable items. I quite liked the one in the photo above, pity I couldn’t get a frontal shot then.

Paper Fantasy 2010 displays  A variety of paper art was on display then.

The displays were interesting, but not too many were eye catching. I think the colours were a little boring for me, and there weren’t more than 15 pieces on display anyway. I think the best one I saw was this:

White yellow tree @ Paper Fantasy 2010 
White yellow paper tree (if that’s what its supposed to be)

I was going around trying to get nice angles to snap some photos when I came across a more human aspect of the display. The event organisers had some string hung across the display barrier, and hanging on them were small pieces of paper, short messages that anyone who was passing by could write. What did people actually put on them?

These messages were actually answers to complete a statement, which started with, “If I could change or do one thing to make the world a better place, I would…”

Here’s a few that caught my eye:

Paper Fantasy 2010 statement 1 
I though this was funny honestly, haha! Whoever wrote it is probably a 10-year old adult or child (take your pick), or a juvenile politician. But nonetheless, its fun to think about if you really do.


Paper Fantasy 2010 statement 2 
Here’s one that makes more sense than the first. It talks about empowering, mentoring people who have yet to fully experience life as much as one has. Role models, there’s a dire need for them. Too many of today’s heroes don’t come across as examples of integrity. I remember an acquaintance of mine put up a display message on her IM saying, “Those who criticise our generation forget they are the ones who raised it.” I’ll say that’s pretty thought provoking. I don’t agree that adults are entirely responsible for everything their kids do, but its definite that the way they are has an influence on them. Who else do kids learn from?
 
Paper Fantasy 2010 statement 3 
I’ll have to say, this one caught my attention the most, and as they say, save the best for last. Become God, there’s an interesting notion. Just imagine, power of creation and destruction in the hands of a human being. No sarcasm intended, I really do think that such an option would be a very thought provoking notion. Still, as we’re all naturally imperfect human beings, I wouldn’t give such power even to the person with the most integrity in the entire world. I don’t think such an action would make the world a better place. Even logically it doesn’t make sense. Since God made man, how could they be any better than Him? Simple deduction in my opinion.

Well, in spite of the two egoistic suggestions, I believe people do have good practical ideas to make their world better for themselves and the people around them. Take the second statement for example, its true that the elder and more experienced have a role to play. People like me still need their guidance in one way or another.

However, the question shouldn’t be what you would do to change the world. The word ‘would’ doesn’t instil much confidence. Words like would, could and maybe have something in common, the word ‘if’. I think we’ve all heard sentence structures where the word ‘if’ starts it off and the sentence ends with an action, usually brilliant and ideal. However, the focus doesn’t go to the idea, it just goes back to the ‘if’. Ever heard someone say, “If only I could….”?

That’s why ideas remain ideas, because there are those who love to throw that word into their thoughts. They do it to convince themselves that they’re good people, just lacking some sort of ability to do good. You and I should know though, that’s a lie. Sure, humans have limitations but its not like we’re helpless.

Just two questions you should ask yourself, for the present and the future to keep yourself in check:

1. What are you doing to make your world a better place?

2. What will you do to make your world a better place?

Those two questions are a lot more personal, a lot more real. If you can answer them, I assure you that you’ll be a whole lot more accountable and responsible, somebody people will respect and know they can rely on.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

fresh Kicks

“Nice shoes,” he said as he walked by me.

”Oh, hey, thanks.”

I believe those are the words you always want to hear when you’ve got a new pair on, strolling around in them feeling all new. You’ve found a new favourite pair and it somehow has that magic that makes you feel two times more confident than usual.

Just a few days ago, only for the second time in my life, I got a pair that has the lovely swoosh logo on it. In fact, the other one hardly counts since it was a futsal shoe and I never wore it for walking around. It wasn’t a fashion buy, but I’ll admit, I chose it because it looked pretty fine.

Nike shoe box top right corner Swoosh!

Actually, I play court based games quite a bit. I like tennis and badminton, not to mention futsal and basketball too. The problem with that was that I was always using a training shoe for these games, not a smart choice for the long run. It was a Reebok trainer. I liked it, served me well, but I have the feeling if I push it any further on the court, its retirement date may come sooner than it should. Simply put, I needed a court shoe.

My search started off in One Utama and ended at Ampang Point. I ended up getting this Nike pair at a small sports shop located at one of the many shop lots surrounding Ampang Point. It was all courtesy of my father who was probably feeling a little generous that day, not to mention he bought a pair of his own too. Anyway, here’s what I got:

Nike Air Courtballistec in box 
I suppose some people like me who aren’t so well versed in the world of shoes were a little curious to know its name. People know the Adidas Superstar, Nike Cortez, Nike Lunar and so on and so forth, which did this creation belong to?

DSC02902 Nike Air Courtballistec 2.1

There you have it, that’s its name. Initially I thought there was some sort of printing error when I saw ‘COURTBALLISTEC’ until I searched it up online. Apparently, Nike likes this name. Its kind of a weird name to say out loud though. It doesn’t sound so fashinoable to say, “I’ve got a pair of Courtballistecs,” or “I’m wearing Courtballistecs,”

Anyway, I did take it out for some testing at the tennis courts in UTP. It’s light and comfortable, and its got killer looks that made a guy say, “I like your shoes.” How often do you hear a guy complement another guy? Usually they just save their energy for the girls, hahahah. Back on point though, its a good shoe. Its not flashy, but it still looks good and it serves its function.

Since I like it so much, I thought I’d give it the chance to shine a little more on this blog entry, so I did something that’s similar to what I usually do on CStar WarsE, my Star Wars action figure review blog. Here’s a little showcase to tie things up. Here goes:

DSC02929 
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DSC02942 
DSC02944 

DSC02950 
DSC02953 
DSC02952 
DSC02959 
DSC02962 
DSC02949

Friday, September 17, 2010

drink Ipoh

Continuing from where I left off, dim sum and dim sum street was fantastic and I left full and satisfied. There were no doubts, no one needed lunch, not even me, haha! Still, my friends attributed that to the two sausage McMuffins I had earlier. By the time we left the place, it was about lunch time I think and we went in search for a refreshing drink. People in Ipoh surely know where that place is.

Funny Mountain tau fu fa shop Funny Mountain

Their speciality is tau fu fa and soya bean milk. That place is really hot (both figuratively and literally), and people seem attracted to the heat. Trust me, it doesn’t matter what time of day it is, as long as the shop’s open, there’s a queue and its length varies with time. Here’s an example:

Funny Mountain shoplot   

I don’t know why, but seriously, every time I’ve visited this place, there’s always a group of over 20 people queuing up to get their order in. Its as if there’s some magical soya force drawing groups of 20 to come one at a time. I guess they all love soya beaning. Not all of us were in the mood for tau fu fa, so about five of us got at it. Five out of five loved it:

Contented consumers

After that, we didn’t go looking for more food, especially since we already had a really fulfilling brunch, or at least I had one. Edward took us to someplace in town that I’m sure I’d passed before but never really went into, the Japanese garden.

Taman Jepun signboard 
I will give a fair review of the place and say it won’t be the most fascinating place any tourist would go to, and I’m already saying that as a local tourist in this case. It’s rather small, and its faster to walk one round around there compared to the Waterfront at Desa Park City but I guess that’s why its a garden, not a park. Still, it was nice to just have somewhere to walk during the middle of the day instead of a shopping mall.

Garden pathway

It was weird though, Mary was asking if we could go to Jusco (a place I’m too familiar with in Ipoh since One Utama or the Curve does not exist there). I asked, why on earth would she want to go to Jusco? I was promptly replied with the word ‘air-con’.

Anyway, Edward was explaining that apparently this place is a hotspot for couples around here. Its a bit small to fit all the couples of Ipoh, but then again, there aren’t too many other places you’d want to walk your girlfriend in that don’t include floor tiles and air conditioning.

A few photo opportunities presented themselves since we were rather free walking around. Some of them turned out rather decent:

Garden group shot
Wai Nyan leaps 
Wai Nyan’s jump shot was the best, not one girl beat his. As it is, its liked on Facebook, hahaha.

After leaving Taman Jepun, we went over to slightly cooler spot, Gunung Lang (not sure if that’s spelt right). We went over just to chill by this man made waterfall. John and Jeannie had other ideas when they saw the playground though. For the record, Jeannie is a working adult, and she still decided to go through a slide tube! For what its worth, my mind had a little sad face knowing she still fit through and didn’t get stuck, hehe.

Jeannie arrives Well, to be fair, someone fat wouldn’t get stuck in there, lol.

Jeannie also felt the need to follow John and conquer Mount Playground:


12-year old boy and 6-year old woman conquer Mount Playground 
Back to the waterfall, it was pretty neat, because people can get close enough to it and feel the awesome breeze without being drowned by water. It was a little like experiencing those fans that blow water particles in your face, except that this was a whole lot better, not to mention it felt a lot more natural too.

Friends at Gunung Lang waterfall

It felt so good that we kind of just hung around forever until suddenly water stopped pouring from the top (proving its all man made, lol). The funny thing was, it stopped right after a couple that was having a wedding photo shoot left! It was a little dumbfounding, although I don’t think their departure led to someone turning off the mountain tap.

From there, we went back into town for our second last destination. It was time for some white coffee. The Sin Yook Loong coffee shop (pictured below with green signboard) apparently puts in some good white coffee, iced.

The white coffee place 
Iced white coffee

Roti kahwin Roti Kahwin

We also checked in for some kaya toast, but there wasn’t enough kaya for my liking, even thought the photo above shows butter spewing out, haha. Oh, if you’re not Malaysian and you’re wondering what’s with the caption ‘Roti Kahwin’, roti means bread and kahiwn literally means married. If we take the symbolism a little literally, its kind of like butter and kaya getting married in a church of bread.

I like the coffee, but it was a tad too sweet for some of the others. I guess that’s because I’m the kind of person who loves sweet drinks. Teh o’ ais (and I don’t suscribe to ‘kurang manis’ nonsense) is my all time favourite. Anyhow, by that time, I was feeling a little hungry for a snack so I decided to have a local favourite for tea:

Kuey Kak Kuey Kak

This is really one of my personal favourites, its one of those foods I don’t mind eating for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Take note though, I’ve said the same thing about sausages before. I wanted to take it to go, but the seller didn’t understand what I said because I can’t speak any form of Chinese and apparently he doesn’t speak Malay and he gave me this. What’s funny is he serves all of his ‘to-eat’ servings on a half cut take away Styrofoam box. Maybe it’s cheaper than buying the plate shaped ones, lol.

I remember there’s one Indian who used to be at the exact spot this man was selling Kuey Kak, but he was selling mee goreng and I remember it being super awesome. I’m guessing he was Muslim and was taking a break for Hari Raya or he moved somewhere else. Either way, my mind had a sad face for that predicament.

Lastly, we went to the place most local tourists frequent when they go to Ipoh; the place where people buy salted chicken. I’ve had my taste of it before and I cannot fathom why humans like that instead of KFC fried chicken but that’s just me, haha. Kuala Lumpur was the next destination after, so that concluded our tour. Our last stop in Ipoh was actually McDonalds again, to drop off our ‘tour guide’ Edward who’d parked his car there and got in the van with us. You see, start at McDonald’s, end at McDonald’s. 

There is one random moment worth mentioning before I end this entry. Yee San was supposed to join us on the trip but couldn’t make it. Our group had stopped by a petrol station for a bit. Jeannie noticed something and said, “You should take a picture of that.”

Yee San building What’s so special about that? Let’s zoom in:

Syarikat Yee San

So, how old do you think she is?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

eat Ipoh

Almost the whole first week of my mid-semester break was wasted by me slowly falling sick, being sick, and then recovering from being sick. Thank God though, I was at full strength just in time to go on an eating day trip with some friends. Ironically though, they chose Ipoh as the destination, and that place in particular was where I was taking a break from, or the area at least. Tronoh’s still about 30 minutes drive from Ipoh.

We chose last Friday to go, and incidentally it was the first day of the Hari Raya celebrations around Malaysia. Although the assumption was that the highways would be clear by then because everyone would be at their hometown come the first day, but no one really had a firm idea. One of my friends though, told me straight, “You’ll never make it.”

Was he right? Here’s a clear answer:

Road to Ipoh

The road seemed to be full….. of space.

In spite of some worries, the highway was rather clear except for a few stretches where some cars slowed down. When we looked around, there were no accidents or anything. We were a little baffled to see cars slowing down to almost a crawl when there was nothing of the sort. We’d only been driving for only slightly over two hours when we went past:

Ipoh Hills

This landmark is how you know you’re near Ipoh if you’re not looking at the signs, which there are tonnes of anyway. Wai Nyan and i noticed that towards the exit from the highway into Ipoh, all the sign boards had the word ‘Ipoh’ printed a lot larger than any of the others places. At one point we saw like four or five Ipoh signs within a stretch of 200 metres, we were both like, “We get it already!”, hahah.

Right before we left KL, I said it would be so funny, if we drove all the way to Ipoh and the first place we ate at was McDonalds, then we could say, “We drove all the way to Ipoh to eat at McDonalds”. Guess where was the first place we stopped at in Ipoh! By then, the time was nearing 11.00 and I hadn’t had breakfast, so I bought two sausage McMuffins that I haven’t had for a really long time, so it felt really good. A few of them were shocked to see I bought two, but hey, they’re tiny things, haha! 

We weren’t really there to have breakfast though, we were there to meet with Edward, our local ‘tour guide’, a friend of ours who was willing to bring us around to some nice places to eat. You’d think with me being in Perak for so long that I’d know all the places, but I honestly hardly get the chance to get into Ipoh really so today was still an eye opener. Well, it wasn’t exactly time for lunch yet, brunch perhaps, and a little dim sum was in order.

Ipoh Dim Sum
That’s when Edward brought us to this place. As we were driving through, he told us the road we were on was known as dim sum street or something like that. Apparently there are a lot of good dim sum places around here. I was initially surprised we weren’t going to a smaller place or somewhere that looked less posh, knowing that many places like these in Malaysia end up serving sub standard food. Still, this was where our host was taking us and I had to give it a try.

As you can see, this place is pretty massive, and its got two floors to it. To cater to the masses, its even got a ‘Take away only’ counter on the ground floor, exactly like a human drive through outlet. The place was pretty packed, and we had to wait for a while before the ten of us could get a table. I’ll tell you straight, if you want a nice quiet breakfast, this is not the place for you.

Dim sum tray


The restaurant uses quite a simple payment system. Each table or customer if you like, gets a long piece of paper that lists down the menu items that have an empty rectangular box next to each item. Every time a customer orders a dish or takes one off the cart or tray, the staff will tick off once on your sheet according to the dish served. Before leaving the restaurant, you just have to check in at the counter and they'll count the bill for you.

Dim sum dishes Various forms of siew mai, and some dumplings. Pork wrapped in wan ton skin can’t go wrong.  

It’s not really easy to get the food here though. Due to the ridiculous amount of people in that one place, its possible that the dishes you want could be unavailable once the food ‘pushers’ come to your table. Knowing that, Edward helped us out, he went on top to the second floor, where the distribution centre is, just brought the paper along, got the staff to tick it and brought the food down.

Once you do get your hands on the food though, it is absolutely delicious. The dumplings, the siew mai, the chee cheong fun was all to my liking. It really was worth going to that place. Now, I’ve had dim sum many a time in KL and PJ but I think they don’t quite reach the quality of what I had in Ipoh. For instance, most dim sum places will serve you a variety of siew mai, which is pretty much a staple dish fitting to a dim sum meal. The ones I’ve had around the Klang Valley all pretty much taste the same way. In that place though, every single one of them really carried their own unique taste, which was really awesome. Even the basic siew mai was really a lot better than most if not all that I’ve tasted so far.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

new Ride

If you know me well enough, or if you read this blog frequently, you’d know I’m about to end my studies come end of the year. Its an end I’m looking forward to, and a beginning I’m anxious about. Working, not as a task but as a lifestyle is something rather new for fresh graduates.

There’s a lot one needs to prepare for as he goes about making a living for himself. Its interesting to note that companies also take a part of this ‘preparation’ into job considerations. Do you notice that in job application forms, there’s a question or statement you are required to tick off which goes something like, ‘possess own transport’. Simply put, “Do you have a car?”

Due to this unavoidable predicament of myself graduating and starting work rather soon, I needed to get a car. I hadn’t put too much deep thought into it, but I always had those short moments where I’d just do some quick logical deduction in my brain to get a shortlist of some sort.

Like probably everyone else, cost would be factor number one in consideration so I didn’t think of getting a Honda or Toyota for my first car. I’d go for a local product, because it would be less costly, or at least my perception would be so. That quickly left me with only two choices, the two ‘P’s, Proton and Perodua. Naza doesn’t count, not like I could afford anything from Naza anyway.

Proton-Logo 
I have a thing for saloon cars, so my mind went straight to the Persona. I don’t know why I didn’t think of the Saga, but that’s how it was. I didn’t think about that for long because then my brain kind of automatically shifted itself to thinking about a Myvi instead. I know a lot of young people are driving them, and its actually pretty comfortable and a decent drive in my opinion.

Perodua Myvi

My family wasn’t really in favour of my decision somehow, and they felt I should still be gunning for a Honda City. My goodness, do you know how wrong I feel to be a fresh graduate riding around in one of those? I haven’t made my first thousand and there I am going around in something that’s worth about eighty times more. Wait, what if I got one of those second hand? The thing about Honda cars is that they don’t really devalue much, or not quickly enough at least.

I got a break though when my parents found someone who wanted to quickly sell of a 7-seat vehicle at a price range that suited my tastes. I got around to testing it and it was a sweet ride. It wasn’t a local car though, but the price offered matched those which were. The car was solid and smooth, good acceleration, decent hill climbing ability, good enough for me. Oh, did I mention it seats seven people? Interestingly enough, in the second hand market, there weren’t many of this specific model around. Seems like its a keeper for the most part. 

Car door handle

We didn’t need to much time to think, a good car, a good price exclusive of the extra costs of sending to Puspakom and all. One thing though, the radio’s busted, well not totally. You can still hear annoying noises like hitz.FM through the radio but it can’t play CDs so I’ll probably get it fixed or replaced sometime. Still, radios aren’t the reason people own cars.

Chevrolet Logo

So, what will I be driving?

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

define Love

I was recently reminded of an article I wrote for the school yearbook a long time ago in 2003. I'd honestly long forgotten about it. Even as I looked through it, I couldn't even remember writing it. Love, what an abstract thing to write about. I attempted to define it topically, writing about how the way you love your spouse is different from the way you'd love your child. Categorising, basically.

Knowing I was in Form 3 at the time, I don't think I wrote it too badly, but looking at it now, I feel I did love a little injustice. Why? Like I said, I attempted to define love, and I think you and I will agree that love does go beyond definitions. I thought I'd use this entry to have another crack at it. Here goes.

love5

I believe that ever since the first human made his steps on earth, people always wanted to have a sense of belonging. Everyone seeks acceptance, everyone wants love, its a drug craved after because its something that we all need. After a while we discover that the best way to get love is to give it as well. That’s where it begins, its far from its peak, but that’s where it starts.

The first few steps involve getting to know the other person or people that we choose to be with. It all starts with knowing names, and it goes on to finding common ground on interests, preferences, even principles maybe. We find things to talk about and it opens up a line of communication and it creates a foundation for relationship. Don’t people always say that in relationships, communication is always important?

Talking can only take one so far though, that’s when people find out that doing things together help people get even closer, because you then have a shared experience. There’re so many ways this could happen. It could be a simple trip to the mall, hanging out with friends or even working on a project task with fellow colleagues. What matters most then, isn’t what was said or what wasn’t said but what we did and went through together. After all, actions do speak louder than words.  

When someone takes the initiative and two hands begin to clap together, a partnership forms. As that happens, a bridge called trust begins to form as well. Its a crucial capstone for anyone who wants their love to be rock solid and not fragile glass. Good partnerships, friendships, relationships never have this element missing from them. To trust means to have faith in someone, even if you can’t verify if that person is really doing things in your favour. Sometimes people like to quote the phrase, “Love is a leap of faith,” I personally believe, that giving trust is that leap.

Once all that is in place, I guess time becomes the next most important thing. It becomes the venue of where love gets crash tested. That’s important to see how strong it is, to see how much of life’s obstacles it can withstand. They vary in size and measure, sometimes its no big deal and the issue is only as small as a pebble. Other times, problems that come up are as tough as fortress walls. Earlier I said, communication forms the initial foundation, where trust and action adds on to that. Going through these challenges builds an intangible measure of how strong those elements are in our relationships with people. We don’t write it down, because its hard to describe, but you just know it. Its something that you can sense.

I believe these things all come together to develop what we know as love. When we understand that, it makes a lot more sense that love isn’t about feelings primarily. That’s why its sad to see words like love being overused and reduced to tingly romantic feelings. Its not about feeling, its about being. Love though, like I wrote in my high school magazine, is different according to the different people we’re with. Our interactions with our friends, teachers, colleagues, superiors, spouses are all so different. Yet, when we appreciate them as people, we love all of them, albeit in different ways and to different extents.

Friday, September 03, 2010

bazaar Bizarre

This blog entry is one that’s long overdue but I guess its still timely, so long as Malaysia’s still in the period of Ramadan. Here goes. 

It has been often said among Malaysians that one of the reasons we enjoy our multi-cultural society are the mutual benefits we get from each other. For example, when the Muslims in Malaysia celebrates Hari Raya, everybody else gets to enjoy the public holidays too. The same goes when there are public holidays due to different celebrations unique to the diverse cultures within the nation.

During Ramadan in particular, there’s something all Malaysian’s get to enjoy, which is the evening Ramadan bazaar that seems to pop up all over the country for that period of time. For those who aren’t too familiar with Malaysia, Ramadan bazaars are just like the typical Malaysian night markets that have plenty of stalls selling miscellaneous items except that Ramadan bazaars are filled with nothing but food that’s meant to cater for those breaking fast. Of course, its not open to Muslims only and is something everyone can enjoy. 

When I was down in KL for a weekend some time ago, my mother and I paid a visit to the TTDI Ramadan Bazaar. I was thinking about getting some nice ayam percik and perhaps some murtabak. The problem was that there were some very long lines for the nice food and my mother and I weren’t to keen on waiting so long.
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The stalls are set along a small road closed specifically for the bazaar.

I walked along the many stalls expecting to come out of it with something like ayam percik or some kuih and stuff like that, but for some reason, I wasn’t picking anything up. It was either because I didn’t find what I really wanted or the lines for all the good food was just way too long.

Just then, I walked back towards a stall I’d noticed but I didn’t pay too much attention to. It looked a little different because it was one of the few stalls out there without a tent over it so it was one of the first stalls to catch my eye (talk about differentiation strategy). Anyway, what I found unique about this stall was that although it looked like a very ordinary Malaysian burger stall, packets of Maggi noodles were being displayed on the front. I thought, “What’s that all about?”
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I saw a griddle, packets of Maggi noodles, eggs, and burger patties. I asked myself, “What is this guy selling?” Obviously out of curiosity I asked what was he actually selling and he answered with two words, murtabak Maggi. I looked away from the griddle to see what he was wrapping and I guess this was what he meant:
Murtabak Maggi

After seeing that, I didn’t need any persuasion, I just bought two straight away, and I regretted later I didn’t buy ten of these, haha! It was very unique to me at least, although Salwa told me this is apparently staple National Service food when I brought it up. Its just awesome, really. I remember Maggi used to have a competition to see who could come up with the most unique recipe using Maggi noodles, I think this is it really, how do you top that?

Buying two wasn’t enough of course, so I continued to walk around to see if I would buy something. I was thinking about Roti John, but I felt I wasn’t really in the mood for it. I was walking along, still thinking what to buy when I heard on of the stall sellers shouting, “Shepherds pie, shepherds pie!”

“Really?!?! Seriously?!?”

My mother makes awesome shepherds pie, I love it and I was very surprised to know it was available at the bazaar. I went over and saw that this stall, which is apparently set up by a restaurant was selling both shepherds pie and spaghetti. The portion of shepherds pie they sold was no bigger than an ordinary serving of tau fu fa, and it cost RM 6.00, but I tell you it was worth it. It actually tastes good, and its something I want to get when I get back to KL tomorrow.

That ended my short visit to the bazaar. Who would’ve thought I’d go into a Ramadan bazaar and come out with shepherds pie and murtabak Maggi? Its totally unheard of, haha!