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Archive for June, 2012

Each year, after the dusts from the fireworks had settled down, like many people, I drew out my list of New Year Resolutions. But like most people, I seldom follow them through. 🙂

So this year, I decided to list out some doable goals instead of some unattainable ones.

Also, instead of writing them down in my diary, I wrote them onto a piece of big manila card, using bright colors of course.

To make sure that I did not forget them, I pasted it onto the wall next to the clock. That way, I won’t miss it.

Now, let me see how far I have stick to them:-

  1. Guide my children in their studies for this year, my top priority goes to my son who will be sitting for his PMR in early October. Unlike his younger sister, Nicholas needs a lot of prodding to excel in his studies. My daughter too, faces some tough time adjusting to life in a secondary school. A big portion of my day now was spent with them to make sure they catch up with their studies. This is possible because I am a stay-at-home mom.
  2. Be optimistic, positive and happy at all times – last year, we faced a major setback. Life was so tough that I almost lost my footing and in the process, my mind. I was so unhappy. But now all that had changed for the better. I learnt to look at things in a different perspective. I am more optimistic, positive and happy now. And I got back my sanity!
  3. Eat sensibly – no red meat for me, not even pork. Now I eat mainly fish or chicken. I eat colorful fruits and vegetables every day, five colors, if possible. No white rice or bread. Instead, I go for brown rice and wholegrain bread. And I make sure I drink enough water.
  4. Exercise regularly – each day, I walk my daughter to school and back home. It is a good way to fill up the “three thousand steps a day” mantra. We swim as a family every weekend. For each outing to the pool, I would do a fifty lap. Swimming is good for the muscles, lungs and heart.
  5. Sleep and get up early – I am no longer the owl I once was. Now I am in bed by eleven the latest. You know, your body needs repairing. The best time is between ten and eleven at night. Early to bed means it is easier to get up early in the morning to prepare my son to school.
  6. Punctual meal and bathing times – I eat my meals at a consistent time each day. Lunch at one in the afternoon and dinner at eight in the evening. This is good for digestion because the stomach is trained to work at a specific time each day. And taking night bath is a big no.
  7. Seek more knowledge – One never stops learning, even though one is a housewife! There are so many things to learn in cyberspace and from the  good old books. Right now, I have eight novels waiting to be read! Sometimes I hardly have time to blog any more but of course I will not abandon my keyboard!
  8. Keep my hair long and do regular facial – I have short hair for a few years and now’s the time to grow them long again, for a change. My hair is getting longer now, almost to my desired length and I am quite happy with it. With my children away at school, I often spend the afternoons doing home facials using some natural ingredients like egg white, honey, aloe vera gel and cucumber slices – it is very relaxing indeed. I haven’t done that for some time, since my kids were born. Now, I better pamper my skin before the wrinkle sets in!   

My verdict? I think I am doing pretty well so far. I think it has got to do with setting simple goals and slowly getting into the habit of following what you have set out to do.

How about you? Have you follow your 2012 New Year Resolutions or have you drop out half way?

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抵制動物實驗產品.

母猴即將被人類帶進實驗室,她的孩子緊緊抱著媽媽,母猴不捨的看著自己的孩子,可牠們什麼都改變不了。。。

請抵制動物實驗產品。

I saw this picture in Facebook just now and it saddened me very much.

It is about cruelty to animals. Mommy is about to be taken to the experimental laboratory but her little baby is still clinging tightly to her. He wanted to be nursed, it seems.

Why is human so cruel? Don’t we have any conscience left?

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This is how Majestic Cinema on Chamberlain Road in Ipoh looked in the early days.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The cinema had closed down in 1998 and it became a furniture store until this week when demolishing work started. Picture taken in early 2011.

 

 

Two days ago, a new reader of this blog by the name of M.P. cillin, alerted me that the old and abandoned Majestic Cinema on Chamberlain Road in Ipoh had been partly demolished that morning. A check with other blogs from Ipoh confirmed this tragedy. It was truly a sad day for the people of Ipoh.

This cinema was built-in the 1940s in the “Art Deco” style. Like Lido, Cathay, Rex and Odeon, it was designed by the famous Danish architect, BM Iversen. His daughter Ruth Iversen still made occasional visits back to Ipoh to visit her father’s designs. So, can you imagine how heart-broken she must be to learn of this latest vandalism? I think the people of Ipoh had let her down badly. Poor Ruth lamented that one day she will have no more reason to visit Ipoh again. One can only feel her pain and anguish.

Most of the cinemas in Ipoh were closed down in the 1990s and some were converted to furniture stores. Rex is one of them. Lido was turned into a Chinese dim sum restaurant. Cathay was rented out to a departmental store.

It is sad to see these buildings going away one by one. In their heydays, people flocked to these cinema halls to catch their favorite movies. It was a place for families and courting couples to spend their evenings together, munching on snacks while watching their idols in action.

Then came video tapes and later CDs. Today, we can just watch a movie at home without having to step out of the door again. The downside of course is that more and more cinemas closed down. And they were left abandoned.

I have seen Majestic Cinema turned into a store selling cheap shoes and school uniforms and later furniture for a couple of years before that fateful morning of 20th June when the hammer brought it down into bricks and stones. I read in the Ipoh echo that the owner had yet to get permission from the local council but he went ahead with the demolition anyway.

Perhaps the lure of money was too great for him. Greed knows no bound. In Malaysia, money comes first. Heritage does not have a place in this country. I wonder what will come out later from this site. Will it be another modern looking shopping mall?

Majestic Cinema was the place where I once went to watch those Bruce Lee Kung Fu movies with Dad. Other memorable ones are some vampire movies and also a few tear-jerker starring Lin Chin-Hsia and Chin Han.

Does Majestic Cinema too, held sweet memories for you the way it did for me?

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One night after dinner, I ran out to look for Dad. He was sitting at the front counter, counting the day’s take.

“Dad, are we going to Park again?” I asked him eagerly. Jubilee Park at Cowan Street was quite a mouthful for a six years old girl, so I simply called it “Park”.

It was a place I loved to go to – for its carousel and Ferris wheel. It used to be the happening place in Ipoh, for both children and adults.

“No, tonight we’re going to a different place, to Durian Street. I need to buy something there!” Dad replied as he puts the old abacus away. “I’m going to bring you there to see some snakes and monkeys!” he laughed enticingly and I can’t contained my excitement.

So off we went to Osborne Street that night. It was also known as Durian Street. Yes, you can get all the durians, rambutans and mangosteens you wanted from this street. But we went there for something else.

You see, Dad used to have piles and he heard that some herbs and creams from the roadside peddlers might help. They usually operate at night and their products can help cure some ailments from migraine to arthritis. Such treatments usually came in the forms of herbs, lotions or creams. Most of the customers are from the lower-income group who could not afford expensive medications from western pharmacies; thus they seek out cheap alternative treatments from the roadside.

When we reached there, the show had already started. Some people were squatting while many others were standing. I saw an old van parked beside the pavement near the entrance of the old Foh San Restaurant. At the side of the van stood a small wooden table and on top of this table, you can see packets of herbs, bottles of lotions and jars of creams all being neatly arranged in rows.

As the medicine man described his products using a loud-hailer, his two young sons helped out. One was busy selling the wares to some customers while another boy clashed the two cymbals in his hands each time his father sang out the effects of his products. His humourous way got many in laughter.

The highlight of the show came when the medicine man took out a square rattan case and out glide a big albino python! The sight of this rare creature took the spectators’ breathe away. He swiftly took it and hung it over his neck. I was completely awed that I stood rooted there for a moment. This is the first time I saw a live snake!

And much to my delight, next, two little monkeys dressed in red jerseys cycled out in circles, chewing on bananas and waving to the crowd. Many burst out in laughter and gees. I had such a wonderful time watching these adorable animals with their mischievous antics and before I realized it, the show was over and it was time for the medicine man to clear his things up.

“Do you like it?” Dad asked as we walked home. He had bought a few packets of herbs and a jar of cream.

“Yes, I loved it and I wanted to see it again!” I told him happily. He nodded smilingly.

“Let’s pack some fried noodles for your mom!” he said, “at least we have something for her too!” What a night!

 Sadly, such shows can no longer be found again at Osborne Street.

Tomorrow is Father’s Day and this memory suddenly came to my mind as I was thinking of Dad. It brought a smile to my lips.

Thank you Dad, for everything! I loved you and still missed you a lot, as usual.

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There was a time when I used to be rather short and skinny. Pimples often popped out on my cheeks and forehead. I have thin and lifeless hair. Some of my teeth were uneven. And I wore thick glasses too – add them up together and I certainly do not make a pretty picture.

Little wonder nobody spare me a second glance. At best, I was a plain Jane and at worst, an ugly duckling. I spent most of my school days sitting at the back row, in a corner, unnoticed and unheard of. In the eyes of my teachers and classmates, I was just another awkward teenager struggling with herself.

Then one fine day, when I was sixteen, I decided to break out from this cocoon. I wanted to catch the teacher’s attention and win her approval. I wanted to surprise my classmates too.

The opportunity came when we were told to write something creative for a writing competition. The top three winning entries will be featured in the school magazine called the “Argosy.” Knowing for sure my classmates will write essays as usual; I decided to take a different path – by writing a poem instead. I went ahead and boldly wrote my first poem, “The Executioner’s Song.” We were given about two periods to do that during our English lesson.

Yes, it caught her attention but no, it did not win her approval. “The girl who wrote a poem instead of a story, please come out here,” she called out sarcastically and I began to feel my heart beating wildly.

 “I see you have written a very intense poem here but the content is too controversial for your own good. I simply cannot accept it. So next time, please stick to something more subtle, something conventional like your ambition, a trip to the beach with your family or how your neighbors put out a fire. Please for God sake; don’t write things that make people upset, it will get you in trouble, understand? Now, go back to your seat,” she hissed at me with knitted brows. Displeasure was written all over her face and she flung the exercise book back at me. Oh dear, my secret plan backfired on me!

But I remained defiant. Why should I write about my ambition? I do not even know what I wanted to be when I grew up someday. Why should I write about a trip to a beach? I have written that several times before, during my primary days that I just wasn’t keen anymore. And why should I write about some neighbors putting out a fire when this could bore me to tears?

I refused to conform to her advice; I wanted to write something different. I wanted to write something that is disturbing my mind. I wanted to write something that is tugging my heart. Why wasn’t I allowed to do that? Nobody could give me an answer then.

Ever since passing by Pudu Jail on a trip to Kuala Lumpur, I kept imagining how it was like to be locked in solitude on a death row, to have the last meal, to see your loved ones for the last time, to say your last prayers, to be dragged to the hangman, knowing you are innocent all the time, and that justice can sometimes be wrongly meted out.

These are the things I wanted to write at sixteen which I did and it got my teacher so riled up. Anyway, I was glad I wrote it. I have no regrets being rejected and got scolded. When something you wrote invoked a strong reaction on your readers, then you know you have written something catchy, something different and something controversial.

But thirty-two years after that offending poem, I found I still could not write so freely; that I cannot call a spade “the spade” or a devil “the devil.” It is very discouraging but this time, I won’t put down my pen like I did when I was sixteen. I am waiting for a change, for a day when I can write just the way I have always wanted to.

Why do I like to be defiant in my writings? Simple, really – I am always inspired by this quote – that what makes you different, makes you beautiful. I wanted my writings to be different and I feel beautiful writing them.

By the way, is my teacher right in turning down my piece of work?

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Last night, my husband and I attended the wedding banquet of one of his clients in a leading restaurant in the city. Sharing a table with some strangers (the client’s relatives) during the ten-course meal became a daunting task for us when:

1)  Two of them lighted up their nicotine sticks non-stop in the air-conditioned hall despite the “no smoking” sign prominently displayed for all to see. Pleas for them to stop  fell on deaf ears.

2)  One of them also coughed and sneezed loudly and openly throughout the night without covering his mouth and nose. Obviously he was suffering from a bad flu.

3)  As if this is not bad enough, he kept digging at his nose to clear his nasal passage.

4)  An elderly lady who sat next to me farted half way during the meal.

5)  A few of them talked with their mouths full of food. They were commenting on how fresh the prawns are!

6)  One middle-aged lady had chili sauce at the corners of her mouth without realizing it.

7)  Her husband threw up at the table after one beer too many. It turned rowdy when he got into a heated argument with the person who sat next to him.

8)  They liked to flip and stir the food with their chopsticks while eating, thus distributing their saliva all over the plate.

9)  When the meal was over, one or two of them used the tooth picks without covering their mouths with the other hands.

10)  And finally, here is the best for the last – one of them loved the roasted pig so much he even took its head with both his hands and munched it up there and then, much to our amusement!

 Boy, were we glad when it was over three hours later and we quickly made a dash for the exit! The food does look sumptuous and the overall ambience was nice but I could not eat much. Could you eat too, if you were at the same table with these people?

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I have just come back from the hair salon with Priscilla, my neighbor. I have a routine trim while she had her hair dyed. Dyeing your hair at the salon nowadays can be rather expensive – you have to pay a hand and a leg for a bottle of good quality dye and the service.

“How about you, do you want to dye your hair too?” the hairdresser asked me after he had finished trimming my hair.

“No, thanks. I don’t dye my hair. I don’t need to, at least not at the moment,” I told him politely.

“You mean your hair color is natural? I thought you dyed your hair too!” he replied laughingly.

“Thanks, I have never dyed my hair before,” I replied.

Priscilla is of the same age with me but she had grey hair since her teenage years. She was born with premature grey hair. She had been dyeing her hair since then and had spent a lot of money coloring her hair all these years.

On the other hand, I was born with very dark brown hair. I got it from my father who got it from his mother. It ran in the family. The advantage of having dark brown hair is that we do not get grey hair so fast compared to those who have black hair. Both my grandmother and father do not develop any grey hair until they are in their late seventies. But the down side is that you will have very fine and oily hair.

Some people like Priscilla are born with grey hair but more and more people find their hair turning grey before they turned 50 and this can be quite traumatic. Leading a very stressful life and not eating a balance diet can be some of the causes besides genetic ones.

Let’s have a look on why hairs turn grey. Hair color is produced by a tiny hair pigment cell inside hair follicles called melanocytes. Melanocytes produced a pigment called melanin that gives hair its color. The more melanin being produced, the darker the hair color. Hydrogen peroxide is a byproduct of the body’s metabolic process. Too much of hydrogen peroxide in our body will caused the melanocytes to become less active. They then produce less melanin, resulting in grey hair.

In traditional Chinese medicine, it was believed a person’s hair is a reflection of the health of that person’s kidney and liver. To have healthy hair, first you must have healthy kidney and liver. This is where “He sou wu” comes in.

“He sou wu” is a tuberous plant found mostly in China, Taiwan and Japan. The nutrition can be found in its root. “He sou wu” means “Black haired Mr. He.” Mr. He was a defeated general who went into exile after a war. He lived on roots in the jungle. After many years, he left the jungle and came out, younger looking and his white hair restored to its original black. He survived on these tuberous plants for years and nothing else.

Researches shows that “He sou wu” works on the kidney and liver to improve the quality of red blood cells and helps break down the buildup of liver fat. This in turn stimulates blood circulation in the hair scalp where nutrient delivery is improved, nourishing hair follicles and promoting the production of melanin.

So, don’t wait until your hair turns white before you do something! Start consuming “He sou wu” while your hair is still black and healthy. This herb helps to maintain your natural hair color. You can boil it with lean meats for several hours or simply with rock sugar. Drink once a week on a regular basis. If you are lazy to brew a soup, then buy them in pills form from reputed Chinese medical halls. Another reason why “He sou wu” is good is that when our blood circulation is restored, not only our hair benefitted, our skin too. Little wonder “He sou wu” is called the perfect anti-aging herb!

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