Thursday, March 27, 2008

The week that was

I have been busy with my research for the past week or so...trying my best to meet all the targets that I am setting for myself along the way. Just finished writing a paper to be submitted to a conference; hope that it gets accepted *keeping my fingers crossed*. I've got two more papers to write-up and gotta write up on Literature Review since I promised my supervisor that I'd get it done by next week *shuks*... Alfred is coming down this weekend; can't wait to hang out; so in the meantime will slog to finish on these write-ups. Cheers!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


Last Tuesday, I started a 'deworming, kidney cleansing, and colon cleansing' dietary program with few of my colleagues. My colleague, Dr. David Tong was the one who initiated the idea of this detox program and suggested that we do it together and give each other moral support. I was eager to cleanse away all the junks that I have bombarded my digestive system over the years. I need to give my stomach some days off (actually few weeks off!).

We collected money and Dr. David bought in bulk all the items needed for the detox: Psyllium husk, Fruit enzymes health drink, non-dairy organic oats, Propolis, and brown rice. I bought for myself and my mum - we decided to do this together.

Psyllium husk - is mainly used as a dietary fiber, which is not absorbed by the small intestine. The purely mechanical action of psyllium mucilage absorbs excess water while stimulating normal bowel elimination. Although its main use has been as a laxative, it is more appropriately termed a true dietary fiber.

Propolis is a resinous mixture that bees collect from tree buds, sap flows, or other botanical sources. It is used as a sealant for unwanted open spaces in the hive. Natural medicine practitioners often use propolis for the relief of various conditions, including inflammations, viral diseases, ulcers, superficial burns or scalds.

The detox program started with deworming - which I started last Tuesday for 3 days - no fasting is required for this, but we avoided oily and spicy meals - ate porridge on these days. During the 3-days of taking the de-worming tablets, we also drank celery seed (as a tea) to cleanse the kidney for 2 days.

On Friday after the 3-day deworming, we started pre-fasting diet - no meat, oil, and fish - so porridge and mushroom soup were my meals. So, last Friday to Sunday our diet consisted mostly of soft and easily digested meals - no oil, sugar, and meat. By that time, I was feeling constantly hungry already.

Yesterday, which is on Monday is the real fasting - where we have to consume the Psyllium husk, Fruit enzymes health drink, non-dairy organic oats, and Propolis for the next 11 days. Downing the Psyllium husk drink is pretty disgusting because of it's gel-like texture - thank God it's tasteless though; and Propolis is damn bitter. So basically we are on a tasteless (and bitter), oil-less, and spice-less diet.

For the past few days, I was so tempted when I see delicious food on the table; my tastebuds is yearning like crazy for all the delicious-yummy-finger-licking food. Yesterday, I was this close in breaking the fast, haha; but managed to control myself... Food is definitely my weak point - since I am in love with food itself - and this experience teaches me some self-control :) So basically, my stomach is on holiday but my tongue is rebelling, hehe.

Monday, March 10, 2008

A memorial for Benjy

Last weekend, finally completed 'a place for Benjy'. We are missing her so much; this place reminds us that she lives on...

Perfect Sunday evening

A perfect Sunday evening - an-after-rain-evening-sun, sitting by the garden listening to the chirpings of birds, a gentle warm-after-rain breeze and the smell of the wet grass; accompanied with a bowl of pipping hot congee with red hot sambal sardin - PERFECT!

Family Dinner

Two Saturdays ago, my second sister, Tharsani treated us for a scrumptious dinner at a Chinese restaurant in Melaka Raya to celebrate for her recent promotion as an Assistant Manager. Although I didn't feel like going since I was still grieving over Benjy's loss, they insisted that I come. And I went and I must say that it was a great reunion; am very happy for my sister and I wish her joy, good health and abundance in all her endeavors. Cheers!
Uncle John and IThe Gang
From left: Me, my sister Tharsani, Bro-in-law Devan, and cousin bro Arwin
Family potret

Sunday, March 9, 2008


On Saturday, I attended Ai Lin's sister's wedding dinner at Orna Country Resort with Chin Lay and Sharon. It's a nice place though secluded, especially at night coz it's so quiet. We kinda made a 'grand' entrance; that is we entered just in time when the food was paraded; everyone's eyes were on us when we had to walk down the 'aisle' to get to our table; they would have thought we were part of the food presentation, haha; felt so 'center-of-the-attention'. The food was good. Had a good time catching up.


On Friday, I decided to make a styrofoam photo holder and place Benjy's enlarged pic on it. I tend to keep some recycled items so that it can be used for my mini-projects. I used the following items for the photo holder:

- Styrofoam board
- Recycled ribbon from a bouquet
- Water color
- Manila cardboard (to be used for the cut-out stars)
- Map pins
- Double-sided tape
- An enlarged picture

Oatmeal-Apple-Raisin Muffin

I've always been baking cakes; so I wanted to bake a muffin this time for a change; and I wanted something healthy and wholesome at the same time, with less sugar of course. So I modified some of the recipes which I found on the internet; I used milk instead of butter or buttermilk. As you can see from the pics, my muffins are a little out-of-shape because I didn't manage to find a proper muffin cup/tin.
The following is the simple muffin recipe:
- 1 egg
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1 cup raisins
- 1 apple chopped (you can add more if you want)
- 1 cup oatmeal (I used instant Quaker oats)
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil (you can use canola oil - more healthy)
- 1 cup flour
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp all-spice powder
- 1/3 cup sugar ( I used brown sugar for its color)
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
(You can also add chopped almonds for its crunchiness)

1. Pre-heat oven to 204 degrees Celcius.
2. In a large bowl, sift flour and baking powder.
3. Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and all-spice powder.
4. Stir in oatmeal, raisins, and almonds.
5. In a medium-sized bowl, lightly beat the egg. Stir in oil, milk, and vanilla to combine.
6. Stir the combined wet ingredients into flour mixture, mixing until just moistened. Do not overmix.
7. Fill in muffin cups (or if you have- greased muffin tins) two-thirds full.
8. Bake for 20-25 mins or until golden on top.
9. You can serve with butterscotch sauce (I was tempted to, but didn't :P).

Expected an unexpected polling result

Last night, all my family members including myself were glued to the tv anticipating the election results. It was like a family-reunion, hehe. I had to attend a friend's wedding dinner that night and was restless throughout the dinner waiting to get back home to watch the results of the election with my family. My youngest sister was especially excited to watch the results (she is only 16) - talk about a deep interest in political happenings.

We all had a good laugh when we heard that Samy Vellu lost the Sg Siput seat, so jahat kan, hehe; poor man, he was anticipating a double-victory for this 72-birthday-supposedly-birthday-bash; in fact it would have been a big 'bash' for him to be defeated for the first time. Looking at the results, I suppose all these are the outcomes of people's grouses and dissatisfactions towards the present government; I suppose it's not inasmuch as the individual BN candidate that the Penang, Perak, Selangor majority people have voted against but the party itself. It serves to prove that a political party/rulling party cannot be complacent enough to overlook their underlying duty - which is to serve people of the country equally and fairly irrespective of gender, race, religion, and creed. My family and I sat and watched faithfully till about 1.30, after which I was struggling to stay awake.

This morning the first thing I wanted to know whether BN got the 2/3 rd majority; which they didn't. So, I suppose winds of changes will be on its way and I have a gut feeling that it'd be a much better change this time. Let's hope and pray.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Polling Day

Tomorrow is cast-your-vote-day. Unfortunately, I faithfully forgot to register (again!). Despite having a strong desire to vote for the coming 12th Election, I can't do so (since you have to register at least 3 months before the election)- that's the price to pay for ignorance. I was never interested in anything associated with the word 'politics'. But this time round, I have been reading alot about the performance of the "present" government (that is before the parliment was dissolved for the election) and what the oppositions have to say about BN. It's interesting because the opposition can cite all the facts and figures to justify that there is injustice (big time!) that has been going on rampantly for the past 5 years specifically. It's as if everyone has just been woken up from a deep slumber.

It is tempting to ponder whether the opposition will live up to their words and promises during campaigning. But of course, the counter-attack by BN is that the opposition is just fishing for votes and they have not proved their credibility (yet); yeah of course, how can one prove what they say if they don't have the chance. So, it's "benefit of doubt" as to how the opposition will perform in their service to the public.

There have been countless emails, sms-es and CDs distributed to 'open-your-eyes' shock treatment about all the atrocities and unfairness that have been going on and the labelling of kerajaan barang naik - BN (increasing price government). It's like washing your dirty linens in public. After all, we are the citizens of this country and we would want to say the best of things about our country to foreigners. I don't know the authenticity of these materials; but I certainly wonder what triggers all these. There has to be something that is terrribly wrong for all these types of information to go around.

The motto for this coming election appears to centre around the rights of the Malaysian Indian community; it's amazing the impact left by Hindraf insomuch so that the plights of the Malaysian Indians are highlighted across the media and by the opposition parties. And it is interesting to note as well that the ruling party (that is) is specifically highlighting that they will pay attention to any predicaments of the Malaysian Indians. I mean, this is the first time (for me) that the Malaysian Indian's rights are being highlighted and repeatedly stressed on. I certainly hope that the voice of Malaysian Indian will continue being heard after the election 'fever' is over.

I can't wait for the polling results tomorrow night. Let's wait and see :)

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The Boys

The Clowns for the day!

Monday, March 3, 2008


Last Wednesday, I successfully defended my PhD proposal...the research panel gave some feedback but overall they were satisfied. The first step is done; i am proud of myself, hehe...especially so since I had to struggle with my emotions and try so hard to concentrate in preparing for the presentation when I was grieving over Benjy's loss. I am glad that I managed to pull myself through and did it. Had Benjy on my mind as my inspiration when I decided to go ahead with my presentation.

Coping with the loss

The nights were the hardest... have been sleeping on the couch in the living hall accompanied by Dolly...hardly slept well for the past 1 week...I still can't get the images out of my mind... and I am still blaming myself...

We can picture Benjy in everything we do and in every corner of the house, and we can vividly imagine her antics. Last Sunday, built a cemetery at our backyard for Benjy. Our neighbour, a good samaritan, helped us out in laying the bricks and cementing it.

There are still few work to do; paint it and place a pic.

I thank all my family members and my colleague, Kavitha for lending me their support and understanding my grief.

Recently, I surfed and found few good websites on how to cope with pet loss; one of it is the International Association of Pet Cemeteries. These websites help me to come into terms with the loss; and it does magically ease some of the pain. The following is an excerpt from the website ( in which I found solace and in which I can relate my grief to:

We grieve over the death of a pet. This reaction is only natural. Our feelings toward pets are so special that experts have a term for the relationship: the human-companion animal bond.When this bond is severed, the sense of loss can be overwhelming. Society does not offer a grieving pet owner a great deal of sympathy. Even a close friend may comment: .."It's only a dog..." or "she was a pretty cat. What are you going to get now?" Such a reaction would be heartless given the loss of a human friend or family member, and it is generally recognized that a person who has experienced such a loss needs the support of friends and relatives.Psychologists now acknowledge that we need as much support - but get far less - with the loss of a companion animal. Veterinarians realize that their final obligation to their pet patients also involves dealing with the pet owners' grief.

Preparation and learning to cope
The First Stage: Denial

Denial is the initial response of many pet owners when confronted with a pet's terminal condition or sudden death. This rejection seems to be the mind's buffer against a sharp emotional blow.

The Second Stage: Bargaining

This stage is well documented in the human grieving process. Many times, faced with impending death, an individual may "bargain" - offering some condition if the loved one is spared. The hope that a pet might recover can foster reactions like, "If Sam recovers, I'll never skip his regular walk . . . never put him in a kennel when I go on vacation, . . . never. . . "

The Third Stage: Anger

Recognizing anger in the grief process is seldom a problem; dealing with anger however, often is. Anger can be obvious, as in hostility or aggression. On the other hand, anger often turns inward, emerging as guilt. Many veterinarians have heard the classic anger response, "What happened? I thought you had everything under control and now you've killed my dog!" Another standard: "You never really cared about Rover. He was just another fee to you, and I'm the one who has lost my pet!"Such outbursts help relieve immediate, frustrations, though often at the expense of someone else. More commonly, pet owners dwell on the past. The number of "If only . . ." regrets are endless: "If only I hadn't left the dog at my sister's house . . ." "If only I had taken Kitty to the veterinarian a week ago . . ." Whether true or false, such recriminations and fears do little to relieve anger and are not constructive. Here, your veterinarian's support is particularly helpful.

The Fourth Stage: Grief

This is the stage of true sadness. The pet is gone, along with the guilt and anger, and only an emptiness remains. It is now that the support of family and friends is most important and sadly, the most difficult to find. A lack of support prolongs the grief stage. Therefore, the pet owner may want to seek some help from their veterinarian, pet cemeterian, or from a professional counselor. It is normal, and should be acceptable, to display grief when a companion animal dies. It is helpful, too, to recognize that other pet owners have experienced similar strong feelings, and that you are not alone in this feeling of grief. Don't ever feel embarrassed or ashamed. Your pain is very real and your loss a heavy one.

The Final Stage: Resolution

All things come to an end - even grieving. As time passes, the sadness evolves into memories of joyful times. And, more often than not, part of the remedy lies in a new pet, a new companion animal to fill the need for a pet in the household. Keep in mind, you're not replacing your beloved friend. Nothing can ever do that. You're filling a very deep void in your heart with new love for a new companion. It's time to complete the healing.

How We Feel

When a pet dies, there is no set ritual to formalize the grief. When services are arranged through a pet cemetery, requests such as a short viewing period for the family and friends, photos and a brief eulogy are not uncommon. Still, the loss of a pet affects our emotions, and all the more so if the pet was an integral part of the family. These feelings usually progress through several stages. Recognizing them can help us cope with the grief we feel.When a pet dies, there is no such social ritual to formalize the grief. To many, a funeral for the family pet would seem eccentric and a formal period of mourning bizarre. Even the immediate family and intimate friends may not fully understand the loss. Still, the loss of a pet affects our emotions, and all the more so if the pet was an integral part of the family. These feelings usually progress through several stages. Recognizing them can help us cope with the grief we feel.

Reading this made me realise that I am not alone and it eased some of my pain. What I have now is Benjy's memories and that in itself is precious. As for Dolly, Casper, and Prince - thanks for making me laugh at your hilarous antics...