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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas at Tropicana Mall

Wishing all family and friends A Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christa at Christmas!

A photoshoot using Sony K770 for Christa while taking Wenxiong for a shopping at One Utama on Christmas Day.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Bolt - with a few interruptions

I decided to spend an evening with the children last night after a week of busy schedule. Although my shoulders and arms were aching from tagging along a 15kg Black & Decker Toolbox (works like magic as a sports medicine bag!), I managed to bring Clarissa and Christa for the movie, "Bolt" at Cineleisure.

In the movie, Bolt (John Travolta), a white puppy and his owner, Penny (Miley Cyrus) were shooting an episode of their TV series. He thought that he lived the life as an undercover superhero dog who hates cats. His nemesis was the evil one green eyed man, Dr Calico (Malcom McDowell). We didn't see much as Christa insisted that she had to empty her bladder at an instant.

When we returned, we found out that Bolt was bundled into a box filled with peanut shaped styrofoam and sent across the US. He escaped the box and found himself in the streets of an unknown city. Bolt was convinced that someone had kidnapped Penny and he had to save her. In his pursuit to find Penny, he comes in contact with several pigeons who led him to a malnourished black cat, Mittens (Susie Essman). Thinking that Mittens was the link to finding his beloved owner, he forces Mittens to lead him to Dr Calico's lair. They hitch rides on trailers, lorries and trains across the US. They were both captured by the dog catcher and placed in a animal shelter. A hamster, Rhino (Mark Walton) who worships the superhero helps them escape. After failing to execute his superhero abilities, Bolt comes to terms with his actual situation as a normal canine without any superpowers. I took the girls for the second toilet break as they had a bottle of milk each and were feeling restless.

Upon arrival in Hollywood, he goes to the studios and finds his previous home. Little did he suspect he has been replaced by another similar looking dog. He was utterly distraught when he found Penny hugging the replacement and worked his way alone aimlessly. As the cast were shooting the following scene, an accident occurred triggering a massive fire engulfing the set. The rest was just awesome .... but you need to watch it to know what I mean.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I find it disturbing to find out that Benedict looked like his head had been steamrolled by a grass-cutting machine 2 weeks ago. Someone had a go at his hair and he doesn't look as 'cute' as he used to. Mommy said that he needed the haircut to make sure that his hair grows well. But why? I liked the way he looked. Omigosh! It's a killer look before his hair was ravaged!

He will never look the same. He doesn't feel so cute but he can still place his head over my shoulder when I carry him and say, "Oi-oii!". I guess, the little boy will change anyway some time later (hopefully, for the better). Can't wait till he grows up and gets onto a bicycle to join me on my road rides! (Shhh! Don't tell Mommy!).

Maybe Mommy should check with me because I know what it matters to make little Benedict look good if not better. Hehe! I can imagine more fun days ahead as long as Mommy doesn't feel that I spoil the children. (Do I really?).

Anyway, any takers for a horror movie title, "THE HAIRCUT"?

Friday, October 3, 2008

Parents day out - A nightmare!

Just as we were thinking that the girls could manage themselves, both Clarissa (5 yrs) and Christa (3 yrs) gave me an unpleasant surprise upon reaching home yesterday. As Christa greeted me at the door, the smell of Johnson and Johnson Baby Powder escaped through the passageway. I thought she couldn't have done the powder-fest again?! After taking a few steps into the living room I noticed that the floor was wet and our domestic maid was busy cleaning the mop. There were some traces of powder on the floor and piano stool.

I found Clarissa sitting on the floor with her books and colour pencils (newly bought from Parkson Grand last weekend) strewn all over. There were pieces of torn paper on the sofa (traces of Christa's 'art-work'). To my relief there weren't any crayon traces on the sofa, walls or floor. Little Benedict was quietly playing in the baby-cot while watching the fish swimming around in the aquarium.

The children's bedroom was covered with a layer of baby powder with my domestic maid's personal items scattered on the floor. The radio hi-fi system was again covered with powder.

Both girls were given the cane and a stern warning after some 'interrogation'. It was only later that our maid told us that they locked themselves in the bedroom and they even took out the cane and used it on her. Both Mommy and I made sure that the girls understood that they needed to respect the maid and their bad behaviour would not be tolerated. With a forlorn look, they both said "sorry!".

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Selamat Hari Raya - Keep hard feelings at bay!

This message goes out to all Malaysians (includes family, friends, sports officials, athletes and politicians). Let's keep this nation in one piece and sort out our differences. Let love, peace and goodwill set aside all the stubborn hurts, mistakes and misconceptions of the past. I still believe that there's a God who will sort out the problems if we let Him do the work.

Mommy, it's time to make things work for our family without any interference from anyone else. Just make sure that we don't have too much to do this festive season and we can visit some of our friends and family.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Contaminated milk and milk products?

The 2008 Sanlu Chinese milk outrage has highlighted the introduction of a industrial chemical called melamine into our children's foodchain. Milk and milk products from China are now deemed as potentially hazardous until further clarification from the health authorities. We start wondering what are the side effects of consuming our favourite White rabbit milk candy. Oral intake of melamine may lead to reproductive damage, or bladder or kidney stones, which can lead to bladder cancer.

Melamine is used combined with formaldehyde to produce melamine resin, a very durable thermosetting plastic, and melamine foam, a polymeric cleaning product. The end products include countertops, dry erase boards, fabrics, glues, housewares and flame retardants. Melamine is one of the major components in Pigment Yellow 150, a colorant in inks and plastics.

Melamine is also used to make fertilizers.

Melamine derivatives of arsenical drugs are potentially important in the treatment of African trypanosomiasis.

Melamine use as non-protein nitrogen (NPN) for cattle was described in a 1958 patent. In 1978, however, a study concluded that melamine "may not be an acceptable nonprotein N source for ruminants" because its hydrolysis in cattle is slower and less complete than other nitrogen sources such as cottonseed meal and urea.

Melamine is sometimes unethically added to food products in order to increase the apparent protein content. Standard tests such as the Kjeldahl and Dumas tests estimate protein levels by measuring the nitrogen content, so they can be misled by adding nitrogen-rich compounds such as melamine.
(taken from Wikipedia)

Now that we know all this, we start to wonder what else is present in the milk and milk products. How did the melamine end up in the milk? Was it added into the animal feed? Was it ingested by the animals through the plant fertilisers? Was it absorbed by the plants via contaminated water from melamine waste?

Let's hope that milk products from other countries are safe (or safer) to consume. The list of milk and milk product brands that are safe for consumption from Ministry of Health is given here.

Time to go green!!!

Other suggested readings:
Contaminated protein exports in China
Contaminated pet food

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

What matters most?

The past few weeks has been a trying time for both Mommy and I. I suppose the situation worsened since I took time off to cover hockey training. I was not terribly disturbed by the political situation in the country but the concern was more for the potential trouble as the result of racial sentiments raised by politicians and the utter nonsense we read in the media. With all the confusion, I decided to quit my job and start looking for another which allows a more flexible timing with less stringent business requirements.

Despite all that our children didn't notice much and continued with their daily routine, playing, screaming, laughing hysterically and crying to get some attention. Even Benedict (almost 1 year old) has learnt to campaign for attention. He refuses to let go once you have carried him in your arms.

I suppose everyone feels insecure sometimes and may end up doing things which make them look foolish. We are lucky as the children are a great source of strength and courage. It makes us look beyond the challenges and press on with greater wisdom and perseverance. After all the arguments, I feel as foolish as some politicians. I hope our relationship will come out stronger after brushing off the dirt from our shoulders.

Monday, September 8, 2008

What do children do when parents quarrel?

Every loving couple would have diferences in opinion and occasionally this could lead to heated arguments and quarrels. This is something that you never tell anyone else except close friends. What I've learnt over the past few days is that adults never seem to bother much about what happens to their children when they are busy feeling hurt and hurting your spouse. Sometimes, we 'quarrel' in a nice way where it is done away from the children but Clarissa reads body language very well and would often ask, "Why, Daddy?".

What do children do?

1. They feel fearful at the next thing which could happen.
2. They wonder how come adults also behave like kids
3. They are confused as adults are supposed to be composed
4. They make sure their mischief doesn't cause further trouble
5. They occasionally get involved with the person whom they emphatise with (through their gut feeling)

What do adults do?

1. They feel the hurt longer and insist on protecting their 'rights'
2. They wonder what happened to the person whom they married
3. They start to believe what was advised by their friends and parents against the marriage previously (if any). Their worst fears have unfolded and become true?
4. They forget that their spouse was never perfect in the first place
5. They compare the good that they have done and the bad that they had received
6. They forget that the children are around and start to behave like kids too

Parenting is not easy but staying together as parents may also pose as a challenge.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

BUDGET 2009 or No Budget for 2009?

It would be great to hear of what goodies new families like ours would get from the Budget 2009. Most of my friends and clients feel that the Budget 2009 may be too late to save us from rising inflation and cost of living. We would probably need to continue to institute measures to curb spending. In otherwards, life will not longer be the same since the first half of 2008.

Here are some of the measures we have taken as part of the practical steps:-

1. Eat at home and pack food for work
2. Drink filtered water instead of teh-tarik (not to mention that it is usually too sweet and prepared from low quality tea dust)
3. Plan the route of my daily travel
4. Cycle for exercise and may use the gymnasium in the condominium instead
5. Use my post-paid package from Celcom and make phone calls only when necessary
6. Avoid supper at the mamak and make my own supper
7. Less elaborate birthday celebrations
8. Local travels and tours for the family
9. Look for a better paying job or overtime
10. Get the whole family to use water and electricity wisely
11. Pay off more of the housing loan with EPF
12. Go for movies only when there is a blockbuster
13. Get a cheaper and more efficient Broadband Internet Provider
14. Read more off the internet than buying books
15. Consider replacing my car with a more fuel efficient car
16. Pray that things will change for the better

Does it really sound like effective measures? I suppose we would need to spend some money to spur growth in the economy but it would be rather tricky to tell the man in the street to do so.

Useful links:-
1. The Star: Budget 2009
2. Budget 2009 Text
3. Economy Report 2008/9
4. Live Telecast
5. Recorded Telecast

Fighting over hair accessories?

If you have two girls aged 5 yrs (Clarissa) and 3 yrs old (Christa) and Mommy has bought some new hair accessories (e.g. hair band, clips, tie, etc), what would you get? A girl fight and lots of yelling!

Mommy and I would have to separate the two girls as they would try to lay their hands on the accessories before Mommy opens the plastic wrapper. As it happened, Clarissa was in tears as Christa had tried the hairband and wasn't going to hand it over to her to try on. Mommy then took out some hair clips. When she caught a glimpse of the colourful hairclips, Christa took off the hairband instantly and sat on Mommy's lap. Once the first hairclip went into Christa's hair, Clarissa didn't want the hairband anymore and demanded for the hairclips.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Wholemeal Fish Fillet Sandwich

I had a pleasant surprise this morning when I found a 1 footer wholemeal bread at the table ready for me to take along to work. The contents were pretty simple. A few slices of fresh lettuce, freshly prepared fish fillet and a few sprinkles of table salt (look no mayonaise). Looks like my plan to loose a few more kilograms would work now that the diet is well organised. Thank you, Mommy!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Lumut Town and Teluk Batik

I had the opportunity to visit Lumut town for 4 days recently and found that it is still a good quiet place to visit for a few days with the family. Besides the pleasant beach and lots of greenery, I have found that good food is a constant feature during my stay thanks to the kind hospitality of my relatives. I will walk down Teluk Batik at dawn tomorrow to catch the sunrise and pandan coconut water. My stay at the Orchard Inn has been pleasant although it doesn't have a lot of fancy features to offer. I made sure that I bought some Satay fish and got some 'Kong Piah' from my relatives to bring home.

I took a few photos of the town and uploaded the photos on my blog at McDonald's. I have finally found it convenient to surf broadband outside my home or office. But I insist on having a relatively quiet environment where I can write without any interruption. The special brewed coffee and Beijing Olympics live coverage (Astro) was also useful to keep me occupied.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Hand Foot and Mouth Disease: Preventable Potentially Fatal Disease

Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD) caught my attention last year when an adult caught the infection from his two little girls who were attending kindergarden in USJ. The viral disease hit our home the second time after 1 year but this time it was through a friend of Clarissa at a different Montessori. Clarissa told me that her friend had mouth pain (ulcers) for several days and finally was away from school sick. Apparently her friend's sibling who was attending a Nursery caught it first and passed it to her and the Nursery was closed for a week due to HFMD. I was shocked that the health authorities did not advice the Nursery or Montessori earlier and parents were not advised of the possibility of the disease spreading to the other siblings or family members. After 3 days of fever and mouth ulcers, Clarissa developed red spots and blisters on her hands (palm) and feet (sole). Christa just started developing mouth ulcers.

Although HFMD is rarely fatal, it is moderately contagious and proven so since Clarissa and Christa have caught the disease twice from different Montessoris. Every parent who has a child infected probably has to take care of the child at home for a week to prevent the disease from spreading to others. (Some parents find it impossible to care for a contagious child for 1 week). The viral infection usually causes mild symptoms like fever, mouth ulcers, skin rash and blisters, sore throat, malaise, fatigue, loss of appetite and diarrhoea. Potentially fatal complications to the brain, lung and heart may occur with infection from certain viral strains (EV71). Treatment is only to reduce the symptoms.

Here are some of the scary and gory details for those who still find it hard to believe that the disease needs to be given more attention and exposure:-
United States 2007
Taiwan 1998
China 2008
Vietnam 2008
Mongolia 2008
Singapore 2008
Malaysia 2008 and here
Malaysia 2006
Sarawak 2008 and here

HFMD is preventable if parents and teachers are careful to undertake these measures:-
*Maintain good ventilation.
*Wash hands before meals, and after going to toilet or handling stool soiled
*Keep hands clean and wash hand properly.
*Wash hands when they are dirtied by respiratory secretion e.g. after
*Cover nose and mouth while sneezing and coughing; and dispose of
mouth and nasal discharge properly.
*Clean children’s toys and other objects thoroughly and frequently.
*Children who are ill should be kept out of school until their fever and rash
have subsided and all the vesicles have dried and crusted.
*Avoid going to overcrowded places

I urge all parents to check your children for symptoms daily while encouraging good hand washing practice to avoid contracting HFMD. I also urge the health authorities to expedite the action required to advise kindergardens and schools with HFMD cases.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

X-files: I want to believe

I thought it would be a great idea to find out what happened to Special Agent Fox Mulder and Special Agent Dana Scully after the last movie.

In this movie "I want to believe", Agent Scully is a doctor in a Missionary hospital treating children after leaving FBI and her ex-partner, Mulder is a wanted man in hiding from FBI. She was visited by a Special Agent who wanted her to trace Mulder who is to assist the FBI to find a missing FBI agent.

Upon convincing Agent Mulder to help, he starts working with a convicted paedophile priest called Father Joe who had visions of the kidnapping of the missing agent. Agent Scully was sceptical that Father Joe's visions was true and refused to assist. As the time passes, more victims have been kidnapped and more body parts were 'found' by his visions. They noticed that the body parts contained traces of an animal tranquiliser.

Agent Scully resumes work at her hospital and decides to start stem cell therapy for a boy with terminal illness. FBI reported that a suspect of Russian origin was found to be in possession of human organs for transplant but they released him after interrogation. While hot on the heel of a suspect, Agent Mulder was run off the icy roads down a cliff in Agent Scully's car. He manages to escape with a few bruises and continued to search in darkness for the modified truck which hit the car. Upon finding the truck and entering the animal laboratory, he gets caught and is tranquilised. As Agent Scully was reviewing the data search from internet, she found out that a Russian scientist was doing illegal transplant operations on anumals (dogs).

You need to watch the movie to find out more about it. Those of you who love thrillers and gory details of anatomy (being butchered) may find it very satisfying. Mommy loved it but Clarissa, Christa and I preferred comedy anytime.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Win a Hyundai for Nothing!

We had a surprise when we went to Cineleisure to obtain tickets for the latest X-files movie yesterday. Hyundai was giving out a new car for absolutely nothing. You just have to be a Malaysian with a valid driving license, fill up the form, willing to queue up for your turn, put your hand into the box of a thousand over keys and pull out the key which opens the padlock to the car. The promotion is only on from 30th July to 1st August 2008. So you'd better hurry on to try your luck and get that Hyundai beauty for Nothing!

It didn't take too much of time to get to the box but we surely didn't win the car although it would be great as my car is still in the garage until .... . I surely hope they get my spare parts! Good luck to those who would like to try to win the car!

As it turned out the car was a four-speed automatic and five-speed manual transmission, fuel efficient sleek 1.1L hatchback called Hyundai "i10" which is retailing at RM48, 888. A more powerful 1.2 L 16V DOHC variant with Kappa Engine of the car is available in India.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Danger in a parking lot!

A Proton Saga 1.3 was seen to swerve rapidly across the divider, crossed the curb of the road, hit a new Proton Persona car parked next to my Citroen Picasso which in turn smashed into the left side of my car. A bank staff who was walking in between was hit on his right hip and had bruising on his right ankle.

I heard the loud bang and came out to have a look outside the office. I was too shocked to be angry at the driver and stood staring at the sorry sight of the 3 cars. It took just a few seconds for a sympathetic crowd to commune at the scene and they started interrogating and chastising him. Within minutes there were many agents (accident consultants and towtruck agents) who joined in the fray. Again, I was thankful the regular police patrol car came by and gave us assistance and ensured calm and provided us with the much needed advice.

Who says it is safer to park in the parking lot? Maybe it would be a good idea to ride to work on my bicycle now that I am without my car?

Monday, July 14, 2008

All for One and One for All!

Clarissa, Christa and their cousin, Li Shuen celebrated the birthday together. Their uncle bought a Pandan cake from Golden Bake Bakery and there were 7 candles. Clarissa (5 yrs old) wanted to be in the centre while Christa and her cousin stood on the chairs beside her. They each took turns to sing the Birthday song and blow the candles. This was the first birthday where the candles were almost fully utilised by the time all three girls were through with them. Then came the cake-cutting for the photo. They each had a pastry knife in their hands and cut at various angles for the photo. I don't think they would be afraid of any papparazzi at this age.

Pantai Seafood (Jalan Chempaka)

We had the opportunity to have a feast at Pantai Seafood Restaurant, Jalan Chempaka, just off the road to the Damansara Exit to NKVE. They have a wide selection of seafood e.g. Alaskan Crab, Snow crab, local crabs Geoduct clams, Lobsters, Oysters, snails, a wide variety of fish and other molluscs. Everyone who visits the restaurant would spend at least 5 minutes staring at their 'live food' before they are taken out of the tanks and weighed.

They really mean business by serving fresh seafood. The crab dishes (Salted Egg Fried and Sweet and Sour) came out steaming hot with the juiciness and texture of the flesh very much intact. Although we also had roasted pig forelimbs, steamed fish, tofu, vegetable, and butter clams. Most of us agreed that the highlight of the day was the salted egg fried crab dish.

Here are some of the photos:

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Christa's Santa Doggie soft toy

Christa decided that I had to take the photo of her Santa doggie soft toy. She started placing the toy on my laptop and insisted that I comply and otherwise she would disturb my work on the laptop.

So here's the children's request of the Santa in full and close-up.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Ooppss! I forgot the girls are waiting for us

I sent both Clarissa and Christa to Sunday School this morning and joined Mommy for Sunday Church Service. The service was slightly longer than usual with a invited speaker who made several pertinent points which made some sense spiritually. Little did I know that other parents have already picked up their children 'early' leaving our two girls behind.

Clarissa cried when she was picked up by Mommy. She was hurt by the fact that we turned up later than other parents. Christa was not amused and said "I didn't cry also!".

Friday, July 11, 2008

Benedict is doing Squats!

I'd figure that this is something which gets every father excited. Baby Benedict has started standing on his own at 9+ months. To top it up, he has started doing squats to catch our attention. It must have been his frequent exercises in the baby cot which strengthened his feet and sense of balance. Although we were afraid that he would topple over, he seemed to know where to place his balance just right.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Cycling for Fitness

Much is being said about eating and not doing any exercise. I have started 'training' on my bicycle so that I may get fitter and trim the waist circumference by 6 - 8 cm (equivalent to 6- 8 kg weight loss). The final goal to is to be able to cycle 2 or 3 times to work safely (and anywhere else within the 5 km radius from my home). It's a cost effective way of travel without harming the environment.

You can find out about it all at my new blog here. Do let me know what you think!

Mommy, maybe you should join me for some exercise, soon?

A visit to Telok Gong

The whole family visited the famed Telok Gong (see GPS location) last Sunday in 3 cars. Despite the toll charges from Damansara Exit to Telok Gong(didn't notice as I was using the Smart Tag) and cost of petrol, it was a worthwhile outing for good food. We had 3 different varieties of crabs, nyonya sotong, steam seabass, oyster omellette, bamboo clams ( I think that's what it's called), young 'kai-lan' and coconut water.

Here are some of the photos taken during the trip.

Did anyone leave some fried buns to dip in the crab chilli-tomato gravy? Although we ordered another plate of 10 buns, it took us less than 5 minutes to gobble them up.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Fun and Barbecue at The Palace Beach and Spa

I had the privilege to have been invited for a dinner barbecue at The Palace Beace and Spa last Friday. Mommy, Clarissa and Christa were thrilled as the resort had a full view of the Mines lake and the Palace of Golden Horses. 'The resort boasts of a swimming pool designed to mimic a lagoon with the silver fine sand surrounding it.

The wide selection of salads, grilled seafood and fresh oysters, barbecue lamb, beef and chicken, fried rice and noodles, dessert and local fruits made it worthwhile for the visit. We were entertained by a local MC who seemed to know both dance and mimicry. We were decorated with a piece of local batek sarong each to set the mood for the evening of fun.

I have enclosed some photos to show you how much we enjoyed ourselves.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Seafood from Kota Kinabalu

Here are some of the photos of seafood I had in Kota Kinabalu recently. I thought they didn't look as good as they taste but the food is certainly lot cheaper than in Kuala Lumpur. I had steamed prawns, lobsters, soft shell crab and 'pucuk-paku' vegetable dish. Hehe! Now, this would make your mouth water!