Monday, January 28, 2008

Fulfilling Vow

Last Sunday, we went to Batu Caves on the occassion of Thaipusam to fulfil my vow. Thaipusam fell on Wednesday (23/1/08) and there was still a big crowd on Sunday. Thaipusam is a Hindu festival celebrated mostly by the Tamil community on the full moon in the Tamil month of Thai (Jan/Feb). Pusam refers to a star that is at its highest point during the festival. The festival commemorates both the birthday of Lord Murugan and the occasion when Parvati gave Murugan a vel (lance) so he could vanquish the evil demon.

A few years back, I vowed that if certain of my dreams were to come true, I will carry pal kudam (milk pot) up the 272 steps in Batu Caves. If you ask me, I was in a desperate position to complete my Masters thesis and get it accepted after slogging on it for day and night; and I decided to make a vow. It all boils down to how much faith you have in the things that you do or think; if you make a vow just to 'test' whether it works, then there is no point. I believe that faith makes all things possible; it doesn't matter which religion you are in. What matters is your unwavering faith and above all having equal respect, love, and kindness to all human race irrespective of race, religion, and nationality. It's easy to be condescending by questioning certain held beliefs, which we find it hard to explain scientifically or logically. I believe that scientific or logical explanation is just to fulfill the insecurities of human being, who finds it more convenient to believe what he/she sees rather that what cannot be seen.

Anyway, back to our journey to Batu Caves. I felt a deep sense of fulfillment for successfully carrying out my vow; which I missed last year due to unforeseen reasons. After prayers, we went around the stalls and bought some sweets (laddu). Went back home straight after that.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Gang Chilling Out

These are my four lovely doggies, chilling out after a nice bath in the sunny afternoon. It's definitely a good workout for me bathing the four rascals.
From left: Dolly (the most obedient of the lot), Benjy (camera-shy), Casper (the un-friendly ghost), and Prince (the silent 'killer'). Love them to bits!


I found this interesting question in one of the websites:
"if you could spend 30 days in one location (and only one location) anywhere in the world, all expenses paid, where would you go and why?"
My answer:

I would love to go to India again. If I have 30 days to spend in one location, I know for sure I'd go for India for the hustle-bustleness; you can never get tired of India because there is just too many things going on at one time and it is a land endowed with beauty and diversity. Plus I can indulge myself in the mouth-watering dishes; please my hunger for artistic endevours in its amazing architecture of temples and the hand-made wooden crafts, sculptures, and paintings. The best of all is the ever-so-interesting-and-curious-looking people who will just 'spice' up your stay there. Nothing in this country is ever quite predictable; the only thing to expect is the unexpected. Some travellers are only too happy to leave, while others stay for a lifetime.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Everybody has phobias - at least what I think so. I suffer from Aqua-phobia. Although I know how to swim, but when it comes to deep waters (anything more than my height), I become nervous. I am so afraid that if I am in deep waters and I suddenly forgot how to swim (yeah, I know; chronic), I'd drown; or if I get tired halfway swimming, I can't stand on my feet at the deeper end. And so, you can always see me hanging around at the shallow end of the pool.

Source: Wikipedia - "Aquaphobia is the kind of specific phobia, an abnormal and persistent fear of water. It involves a level of fear that is beyond control or that may interfere with daily life. Specifically, people suffering from aquaphobia may experience anxiety even though they realize the water in an ocean, a river, a lake, a creek or even a bathtub may pose no imminent threat. They may avoid such activities as boating and swimming, or they may avoid swimming in the deep ocean despite having mastered basic swimming skills [This certainly describes me!]. This anxiety may also commonly extend to getting wet or splashed with water when it is unexpected, or being pushed or thrown into a body of water".

According to the source, some people may develop the phobia as a reaction to a traumatic water experience---a near drowning or other such event - the experience which I had when I started my swimming lesson as a kid. I strongly believe that throwing a child at the 12-feet end of the pool so that the child naturally learns to swim is NOT A GOOD IDEA! - at least in my case.

Although my condition is not the Chronic Water Phobia, but it does inhibit me from learning a water skill or freely entering a mass-volume water environment such as a swimming pool, sea, lake, ocean, or river.

I have tried conquering the fear - by taking swimming lessons - I did amaze myself though by touching the ground of the 12-feet end of the pool numerous times - but I guess I pushed my limits in doing that - and it didn't create a wonderful feeling during the process - although it did boost my pride of being able to do so. After a while, I admitted that anything deeper than my height is a BIG NO NO. I'd be perfectly happy swimming in the 5 ft level.


I have been busy with coordinating the industrial training work, and hardly can find time to concentrate on my PhD studies. I feel guilty each time I bump into my supervisor; he certainly seems more eager than I do in this. And I am tired of giving him the same excuse of my lagging behind the deadline. This time round, I am no longer the coordinator for industrial training though I am still in the committee; this shall reduce my workload alot besides having to teach. Everytime after meeting my supervisor, I'd be so energetic and determined to 'crazily' sit and write up on the thesis. But, after seeing the piles of letters and fax on my table, I'd be drowned in that work of sorting out and organizing. I've finished most of the paperwork; I am relieved! Now, I must start serious reading for the thesis.
My supervisor had long been asking on the date for my proposal defense (it's long overdue) and I haven't been giving him definite answers; I certainly am not looking forward for that. After giving up waiting for me, finally he set the date for my defense, which will be next month; 27th Feb. Okay, I work well under pressure; especially working on deadline...


Last weekend was Karen's (Sharon's sis) wedding. On Friday, Ai Lin, Chin Lay and myself went over to Sharon's place to discuss about the 'bully' session which is to take place on the next day, i.e., Saturday. We were the Chee Muis (a.k.a bridesmaid or kaki bully in this case) for Sharon's sister's wedding, and we were looking forward for it, on Friday night, we planned on how to bully the groom and the bestman. Sharon prepared the halapeno pepper sauce, bitter gourd sauce, black soya paste and honey sauce to 'feast' the groom and his konco-konco.
We had a fantastic dinner on Friday at her place; satay, pizza, noodles, chicken curry, fruits and wine. The next morning, we went early to Sharon's house to help her out. Chin Lay and I wore the same dress we bought for the occassion; it's a spagetti-strap-bubble dress in champagne color; I absolutely love the dress. It was my first experience attending a Chinese wedding; and I had a good time, especially the Chee Mui session! It was so hilarious! The deal was if the groom can't answer questions about the bride's family, he/his buddies has to have a taste of the 'special' sauces. Obviously he doesn't know the birthdays of all the members of the family, so they had the 'privilege' of tasting the homemade sauces. The pitiest of them all was the bestman who has to eat the chilli paste; he maintained his cool, but after that seen sweating profusely; haha tahan macho. After the tea ceremony at the bride's place, we headed off in my car to the groom's place for another tea ceremony; we had delicious Nyonya dishes there.

Later in the evening, we attended the wedding dinner at CityBayview Hotel. Karen looked stunning in the traditional Nyonya outfit and later changed to a beautiful evening gown. I shall post the pictures later (since we forgot to bring our camera, we have to get a copy from the photographer).

Friday, January 18, 2008


I have been away to Thailand for one week and was back on 15th Jan. I was anxious to start my piles of work the next day, but found my PC was 'acting' weird. All my folders started to disappear (and I don't know how!) and thank God to my lucky stars, I did manage to back-up few folders; the other folders just cannot be retrieved; damn! Right now, I am computer-less (still waiting for the IT guy to sort it out) and am using my colleague's PC. This just had to happen at the time when I needed to sort out so much of pending work and other deadlines. Nevermind, I'll just wait patiently for my PC.
I shall update on the trip as soon as I get my PC back. Cheers!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

I tried this recipe once and it turned out well. I absolutely love baking cake with frosting or icing. Shubs tasted it and loved it; she later baked it for her hubby. Herewith is the recipe:
Cake Ingredients:
- 4 eggs
- 1 and a quarter cups of vegetable/canola oil (the oil actually binds all the ingredients and carrot together)
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 3 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups of all-purpose flour (sifted)
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 to 3 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp of nutmeg
- 3 cups of grated carrot
- 1 cup chopped pecans/walnut/almond
Frosting Ingredients:
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 250 gm cream cheese, softened
- 1 and a half cups icing sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup chopped pecans/walnut/almond

- Preheat oven to 175 degrees C. Grease and flour a 9x13 inch pan.
- In a large bowl, beat together eggs, oil, white sugar, and vanilla. Mix in flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Stir in carrots. Fold in almonds. Pour into prepared pan.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 50 minutes.
- Let cool in pan for 10 minutes.
- To make the frosting: In a medium bowl, combine butter, cream cheese, icing sugar, and vanilla. Beat until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Stir in chopped almonds. Frost the cooled cake.

Blueberry Cheesecake

This is one of my family's all time favorite, which I bake frequently (very frequently, in fact, after which I know the recipe by heart); and I got fed-up since I know how the end-result will be like. But still since it is always in 'demand' I end up baking it for every occassion or sometimes for no occassion, hehe. Herewith is the recipe:
Ingredients for the Crust:
- 1 cup Graham cracker crumbs
- 2 tbsp white sugar
- 1/4 cup melted butter
Ingredients for the filling:
- 250 gm cream cheese
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup sour cream (depending on how sour it is)
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 4 eggs
- 1/3 cup blueberry jelly (or blueberry jam)

- Combine crumbs, 2 tbsp sugar, and butter. Pat mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch pan.
- Mash cream cheese until soft and creamy. Gradually beat in sour cream, 3/4 cup sugar, vanilla and flour.
- Beat in eggs one at a time.
- Pour mixture into crumb-lined pan.
- Bake in a preheated 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) oven for 1 hour or until firm to the touch. (Since I have a small oven, the top of the cake will be in uneven color, so the blueberry jam is a cover-up!)
- Cool and spoon the jelly (or jam) over the cake.
- Chill until ready to serve.
It's that easy! Enjoy!

Monday, January 7, 2008

SOLO TRIP TO BANGKOK (9th – 11th August 2007)

I’ve always wanted to go to Thailand; but it’s difficult to co-ordinate and get the right timing for everyone. So, one day, I woke up and just decided to book a flight to Bangkok and go for a solo tour around the hustle-bustle-ing city. It was my first experience of traveling alone; I fret the idea of eating alone even, but this solo trip turned out better than I anticipated. I chose Bangkok since I know it’s a busy city, and I’d likely feel less alone; and I was right! I decided it would be a 3 day trip since I don’t wanna risk being bored, just in case. And boy, was I wrong! 3 days was not enough, obviously; it’s a shopping heaven!

DAY 1 (Thursday – 9th August 2007)
· Arrived at Suvarnabumi airport at 3 p.m. Cleared immigration by 4 p.m. The taxi fare to the hotel was 900 baht; managed to reduce to 800 baht; I am sure I could have reduced it further; but it’s okay considering it was my first experience there. It was about 35 km from the airport to the hotel. Had a nice chat with the cab driver; People here are so polite and nice; the only problem is communication barrier; they can’t speak English well; most of the time they can’t understand what you are saying and vice versa.
· Reached the hotel about 4 p.m. Beautiful 4-star hotel facing the Meenam River; the hotel name: Meenam Riverside Hotel. It has a very beautiful view, especially at night; with boats decorated with glittering lightings. I absolutely loved the room; very cosy and nice. It gives off a good vibe of being there.

Day view from hotel room

· The people here are so down to earth and friendly; absolutely love them; they make the stay absolutely memorable.
· I noticed that even though the men there do look at you and ogle, it’s merely a look of admiration and not a lustful one.
· Left the hotel at about 6.30 p.m. Asked for some direction and headed to the town by a taxi. Went to Pratunam to shop for computer-related items; it’s a replica of Low Yat; a good bargain; bought a silicon casing for iPod costing about 230 baht (RM 30).
· Had dinner in one of the roadside stalls near Pratunam; had fried garlic rice with chicken for 20 baht. Not that great; definitely got lots of space in my tummy for more mouth-watering dishes.
· Then headed to Suan Lum night Bazaar by a ‘tuk tuk’. It’s a shopping heaven. I was told that the place closes at 3 a.m. It was like a mini Jonker Walk in Melaka except that this one is much bigger; infinite number of shops selling variety of things from clothing to handicrafts; you’ll get tired just by walking. The art of shopping here is to haggle as much as you can. People here are so nice, you get to haggle comfortably. I am never good in haggling; but I tried my hand here. I managed to do my share of haggling and got good bargains. I mainly bought handicrafts made from wood; they are absolutely beautiful. Bought some snacks to bring home as well. Didn’t buy any clothing; will get it in Chathuchak Weekend market on Saturday.
· Shopped till my legs and hands ached. I shopped till I dropped, nearly.
· They also have lots of nice looking places to dine there. Absolutely love the ambience, with plenty of lightings, cosy and romantic. A definite must-go place next time.
· Had a fun night out; with lots of shopping and a wild ‘tuk tuk’ ride; it was a fun ride! Came back to the hotel by 10 p.m. Watched a nice French movie, accompanied by a nice cup of tea. Hit the bed by 12.
DAY 2 (Friday – 10th August 2007)
· Got up at 5 a.m. It gets bright here early, by 5.45 a.m. No wonder people here start their activities so early. The ‘tuk tuk’ driver was telling me yesterday that he goes to sleep by 10 p.m. and wakes up by 4 a.m.
· Planned to go to Wat Pho temple in the morning. Things I wanted to do on the day:
- Visit temples
- Take boat ride at Meenam Riverside Pier
- Go for a massage
· Had a nice breakfast in the hotel; sat outside by the pool. The hotel staffs are extremely hospitable.
· Took the Meenam Riverside shuttle boat to Santurn pier. Got a day pass for 100 baht; for unlimited boat rides to a maximum of 9 piers (the major tourist spots). I overlooked the last part of the day pass conditions; and decided that I will sit in the boat till the last stop to enjoy the view along the river bank. The journey was fantastic; passed by some villages. It started to drizzle by then.

View from the boatride

· Got down at the last stop and took the return boat back for 13 baht.
· Got down at Pat pier to visit Wat Pho temple. It’s a very nice small town.

At the entrance of Wat Pho
· The reclining Buddha statue and the Wat Pho temple is breathtaking. Took some shots there; it was crowded with tourists.

The back of the reclining Buddha

The scriptures on the feet of the reclining Buddha
The reclining Buddha
· These were the shots from the Amazing Race that was featured last season (can’t remember which season), where the participants had to count the shillings dropped into the container in the temple. It certainly felt great to be there. Went around the temple.
9 sacred places
· Started to drizzle shortly after. Cancelled the plan to Wat Arun since I had to take another ferry to cross the river and plus it was drizzling.
· Bought some fruits back for lunch. Reached the hotel around 1 p.m.; watched a nice movie titled ‘Absolution’; it’s about a comatose man who can heal people by placing his hand on the affected areas.
· Had a nap; woke up at about 4 p.m.; left the hotel to the town at about 5.30 p.m. The taxi driver pissed me off a little; he didn’t know the way plus he was talking a lot, all irrelevant topics; we actually passed Silom Road and went all the way and took a U-turn and came back to the same spot; and it was heavy traffic at that time! Caught in a massive traffic jam. Finally, I asked him to drop me off at a point. The issue was the he was intending to drop me off at a nice Tom Yam restaurant (which he didn’t know where!) because that was what the hotel concierge informed him. I kept telling him that all I wanted is to go to Silom Road and walk around. Communication breakdown!
· I was fuming; had to walk to go to the main shopping area in Silom Road.
· Went for a traditional Thai massage first before dinner. The place looked very Japanese-style-ish with a long stretch of rooms along the corridor with sliding door. I requested for a female masseuse and was greeted by a he-turned-into-woman; she is a very sweet person. The massage session was quite an experience; with my whole body twisted and turned around like a mechanical doll. I had to control myself from ouch-ing. Although it was a ‘vigorous’ massage, she did so with full of grace. It costed only about RM 30 for a full-body one-and-a-half-hour massage.
· I felt so invigorated after the massage; despite some pain here and there.
· After that, went for a scrumptious dinner. Had tomyam kung with lots of fresh seafood; the prawn and crab was so succulent; yummy!
· With a full belly, proceeded to shop. Bought clothes and some handicrafts. Behind the line of stalls selling clothing and handicrafts, there is a long stretch of bars offering all kinds of services for the lusting men. It was a sad sight seeing all those young girls dancing on a stage around the pole clad in a bikini with men watching them with lust. There were a handful of pimps yelling out good bargains for certain ‘packages’; had a sight of the different face of Bangkok.

Night view along Silom Road

· Continued shopping. Decided to take a ‘tuk tuk’ back to the hotel; had a fun ride. Reached hotel about 11.30 p.m. Packed some of my things – leaving tomorrow.

DAY 3 (Saturday – 11th August 2007)
· Got up early; had breakfast in the hotel.
· Took a cab to go to the weekend market (Chathuchak market). The cab driver mentioned that the market is not opened so early; it opens about 10.30 a.m. So, he brought me to the largest gem and jewellery factory. It was quite impressive; so so many precious stones on display.
· After that, he dropped me off at the weekend market. The shops were just opening. Before they open the stalls, it’s a ritual that they offer their prayers – devout Buddhist. I admired at the simple and contented life that they lead.
· The market is so so big; at a size of 10 football field, there are infinite number of stalls selling various items ranging from clothes, souvenirs, handicrafts, food, and even pets!
· I spent so much time in the pet shops; so many of them; cats; dogs, and all kinds of other pets animals. I was so excited! Bought some toys for my doggies. Walked and walked; just so many shops that you’ll need one whole day there. Spoilt to choices. Good bargains with so many choices.
· Didn’t have the heart to leave the market; left the place at about 11.30 a.m.
· Checked-out from the hotel and headed to the airport with a heavy bag.
· Flight at 4.30 p.m. There was a delay in the flight. The situation at the lounge was so tensed with kids screaming at the top of their lungs and poor parents trying to pacify them. Terrible headache.
· Reached KL at about 9 p.m.
· Went to see my sister for a while in Jalan Pantai.
· Back home – past midnight.
· A fantastic trip!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Differences between Ham, Bacon, Pancetta and Prosciutto

I've heard these terms used frequently in the Food Channel and although I know what it is but never quite understood how to distinguish between them. I looked up the meaning of these items in Merriam Webster's Online dictionary and the explanations in Wikipedia and finally am able to distinguish these ingredients.
Ham with cloves

Sliced ham

Ham is the thigh and rump of any animal that is slaughtered for meat, but the term is usually restricted to a cut of pork, the haunch of a pig or boar. Although it can be cooked and served fresh, most ham is cured in some fashion.
Ham can either be dry-cured or wet-cured. A dry-cured ham has been rubbed in a mixture containing salt and a variety of other ingredients (most usually some proportion of sodium nitrate and sodium nitrite), Sugar is common in many dry cures in the United States. This is followed by a period of drying and ageing. Dry-cured hams may require a period of rehydration prior to consumption. A wet-cured ham has been cured with a brine, either by immersion or injection. The division between wet and dry cure is not always hard-and-fast as some ham curing methods begin wet but are followed by dry ageing.
Dry-cured varieties include Italian prosciutto crudo (prosciutto di Parma). The United States has country ham (including Virginia ham), which might or might not be smoked. England has the York ham. Germany's Westphalian ham is usually smoked over juniper, in Belgium there is the smoked Ardennes ham, and from China there is the unsmoked Jinhua ham. In Bulgaria the specific Elenski but is produced. In Iran, the dry-cured Zard Kūh ham is produced.
Ham is also processed into other meat products such as Spam luncheon meat. Baked ham is also a traditional dish served on Easter.

Prosciutto (pronounced as prō-ˈshü-(ˌ)tō)

Prosciutto is the Italian word for ham. In English the word is almost always used only for dry-cured ham which has not been cooked, in particular from central and northern Italy such as Prosciutto di Parma and Prosciutto di San Daniele. The word prosciutto derives from the Latin perexsuctum, which means "thoroughly dried" (lit., "(having been) very sucked out"). In Italian, "prosciutto" refers to the pork cut, not to its specific preparation. Italian speakers therefore make a distinction between prosciutto cotto (literally, "cooked ham"), which is similar to what English speakers would call "ham", and prosciutto crudo ("raw ham"), the dry-cured ham which English speakers refer to as simply "prosciutto" or "Parma ham". By default, in Italian menus (typically in pizzerias) an unqualified "prosciutto" refers to "ham" ("prosciutto cotto"), whereas "prosciutto crudo" is sometimes referred to simply as "crudo".


Uncooked streaky bacon

Bacon is defined as any of certain cuts of meat taken from the sides, belly or back of a pig that may be cured and/or smoked. Meat from other animals may also be cured or otherwise prepared to resemble bacon, such as beef, lamb, chicken, goat or turkey bacon. In continental Europe, it is used primarily in cubes (lardons) as a cooking ingredient valued both as a source of fat and for its flavour. In Italy, besides being used in cooking, bacon (pancetta) is also served uncooked and thinly sliced as part of an antipasto. Bacon is also used for barding and larding roasts, especially game birds. Many people prefer to have their bacon smoked by using various types of woods. This process can take up to ten hours depending on the intensity of the flavour desired. Bacon may be eaten fried, baked, or grilled.
Traditionally, the skin is left on the cut and is known as bacon rind. Rindless bacon, however, is quite common. In the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland, bacon comes in a wide variety of cuts and flavours. In the United States ordinary bacon is only made from the pork belly, yielding what is known in Britain as "streaky bacon", or "streaky rashers". In Britain bacon made from the meat on the back of the pig is referred to as back bacon and is part of traditional British and Irish breakfasts. In the United States, back bacon is called Canadian-style Bacon or Canadian Bacon. The USDA defines bacon as "the cured belly of a swine carcass," while other cuts and characteristics must be separately qualified (e.g. "smoked pork loin bacon").


Packaged pancetta

Pancetta is an Italian form of bacon. It is pork that has been salt cured, salted and spiced (nutmeg, pepper, fennel, dried ground hot peppers and garlic are often featured), and dried for about three months (but usually not smoked). There are many varieties, and each part of Italy produces its own type. In Corsica, it is considered a regional flavour.
Pancetta can be rolled (the most common type available outside of Italy, see photograph), or straight (with all the fat on one side). The straight variety is more common in Italy than elsewhere, especially where home-made pancetta is still produced.
When served on its own, the rolled pancetta is presented in very thin slices. More often it is used to flavour other dishes, especially pasta sauces. Recipes such as all’amatriciana often contain pancetta as a substitute for guanciale, which is much more difficult to find outside of Italy.
In the United Kingdom, Pancetta is more commonly sold as packs of cubed belly (rather than rolled). It has recently gained in popularity, to the point where it is now frequently available in supermarkets.

(Source: Wikipedia)

Thursday, January 3, 2008

New Year Resolutions

It's a brand new year - time flies so fast! I pledged to myself to make full use of my time and to accomplish the goals that I've set for myself last year! (in which I have procastinated alot). I tell myself this year that before I hit 30 (darn!) next year, I have to accomplish some of my goals this year. One of it is to complete my PhD thesis write-up by this year and in the process publish at least 4 journal articles and attend 2 conferences.

I didn't prepare any list of resolutions this time - this time I believe action speak louder than words and I am gonna accomplish-as-much-as-I-can-while-having-lots-of-fun-along-the-way. This saves me from breaking the resolutions put on paper. By end of this year, I wanna look back and feel proud of things achieved in this year and feel fulfilled. I resolve to allow only positive thoughts which will be a catalyst towards achieving all my goals.
All in all, my gut feeling tells me that this gonna be a marvelous year. Happy 2008, filled with joy, happiness, and abundance!


Happy 2008! I spent New Year's eve and new year day in the hospital accompanying my mum. She underwent a surgery to remove a lump in her breast. She is doing fine now and in good spirits.

Well, it was a memorable stay in the hospital, as funny as it sounds! Indeed, it was. I had a great time with the patients in the ward. It was filled with 'happenings' - which is why I never felt bored sitting there from day to night - time flies! I realised that regardless of race, gender and creed, we all blend in as ONE; and helping out each other in times of need is the true human spirit - which is what i experienced during the stay in the hospital. Since I was the only non-patient in the 4-bed room, I was helping out the other patients. There was this girl (she is a special child with learning disability) beside my mum's bed; her name is Asha... Poor girl, her family was not there for her. It was indeed my greatest pleasure in lending her a hand and being there for her. The other makcik was the entertainer in the room; with all her jokes and heart-warming gestures. Another makcik just went for a surgery to remove her breast - and it was also my greatest pleasure to help her out. I felt so fulfilled and happy. The other entertainer is the 11-year old boy from the other ward. He was there to accompany his mother who is recovering from a surgery. So, it was all cracking-jokes-and-laughs session in the ward. It was truly terapheutic. I truly laughed my heart out. Reminded me of Robin William's role in Patch Adams. That was how the atmosphere in the ward like. Filled with laughters; lively.
So, this new year celebration is a special one for me; being beside my mum and helping out others truly made me happy and contented. I thank God for these precious moments which I will cherish forever. And I thank God for all these wonderful people I met during the stay in the hospital. This experience made me realise that despite the tensions among races and prejudices that is evident in the 'outside' world, the true human spirit brings about unconditional love; that's the magic of the human spirit...And I realised that I have lots to offer.