Thursday, September 29, 2005

It's About Time!

Support your local music scene! It's about time!

Of late I've been kept very busy with the Homegrown Campus Tour 2005.

Homegrown is a weekly programme aired on 8TV on Friday nights at 10:30pm. During the hour-long programme, a different band is featured each week. These bands are what we refer to as underground bands - bands making good music, but are struggling to be recognized by their fellow Malaysians.

Homegrown Campus Tour brings several local bands to various colleges around the Klang Valley - namely One Buck Short @ UCSI on 27 Sept, Love Me Butch @ Monash University on 29 Sept, 7 Collar T-Shirts @ APIIT on 4 Oct and Deja Voodoo Spells @ Taylor's College on 6 Oct. If you're around, do come check out their performances from 1-2pm.

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These mini showcases lead to the Finale which will be held on 27 October. The venue is decided by the number of SMS votes which students send in voting for their campus to be the venue where a full Homegrown concert will be held. This concert will feature about 4-5 Homegrown bands all rocking under one roof!

It's not easy working with education institutions I've gotta admit. There are so many dos and don'ts that we have to adhere too, and neither the organizer nor the title sponsor would like to offend anyone right?

Anyways, vote people vote! Now that Malaysian Idol is over, use your credit to vote and bring a Homegrown concert to YOUR campus!

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Posted by Doreen at 4:30 pm


Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Dressing for Work

The events and advertising agency which I work for is a subsidiary of a private university-college, and we are thus based "on campus". Being based in an education institution doing events and advertising is definitely NOT something those in the industry would want to be caught in.

Let me tell you why.

On certain days I come to work dressed in a tee, a pair of jeans and my faithful pair of Vans sneakers. On some days, I can be found in a a polo-tee, a pair of denim skirt, my faitful pair of Vans sneakers and a Nike pouch hanging off my waist.

During the course of the day, I cross paths with many - a lecturer from the School of Information Technology, the secretary of some big shot, a girl who works in Finance, the receptionist, the cafeteria lady, etc.

They eye me up and down and say "Wah Doreen, on leave ah you?", indicating that I'm not suitably dressed for work.

I smile politely and tell them I've got errands to run and recces to do in many places for upcoming events, therefore I'm dressed comfortably.

"Recce? What's that?" asked the bespectacled lecturer in her 40s.

"That's when you conduct site visits at venues prior to an event" said I.

On some days, I have important meetings to attend and want to impress, so I come dressed in buttoned and collared shirts, a pair of skirt and my usual 3-inch heels. But a day at work is never complete without some physical labour included.

A couple of days ago, I was dressed "corporate suitable". By about 11am that morning, I was helping the delivery boy unload 35,000 pieces of flyers from his lorry onto my trolley, to be sent up to my office on the third floor for storage.

Come the afternoon, I finally found a part-timer to help me distribute these flyers to their respective venues. So I had to load all 35,000 flyers onto the trolley and load it downstairs, and into his car. We did a couple of rounds.

There I was, in a shirt and skirt, tottering around in 3-inch high heels while trying to manouvre the trolley whose wheels have gone slightly out of place, while the load atop it was darn heavy!

During my ups and downs in loading and unloading goods, I once again cross paths with many - some other lecturer, an accountant, secretaries, an administrative staff, etc.

"Aiyo.. wear so high heels carry so heavy things ah?" said a secretary.

"What to do?" said I panting while trying to get the damn trolley to move in a straight line.

So can someone please tell me how I should dress for work?

Posted by Doreen at 3:08 pm


Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Auntie In Progress

I am 24 this year.

The other day, a few of us stood outside the nursery accompanying Chris while waiting for her 4-year old son to finish school, and we'll then have lunch at KFC together. Kids love KFC don't they?

Jason soon came running out and hugged his mommy, and like any Chinese mother, she said to her son, "Never call people ah?" while she busied herself with wiping the sweat off his forehead that left strands of his hair sticking to his head like a piece of soggy cloth.

Jason turned to the guys (both of them 30-somethings) and called them "Uncle". They cooed at how cute he was and gave him a little pat on his head. Then he turned to me and before I even had a chance to panic, he said "Auntie". You see? I had a reason to panic! Auntie? AUNTIE?

Chris chided Jason, "Jie jie, not Auntie".

Jason quickly corrected himself and re-addressed me as "Jie Jie".

It made me feel good. Just for a while. While walking towards KFC, I thought to myself, "Oh no. Now I'm an auntie already?"

And we all know kids NEVER lie.

Posted by Doreen at 12:11 pm


Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Modest Sunbathers

An hour to go.

Had a bad day.

Will shut up.

But this forced a smile out of me...

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Posted by Doreen at 5:03 pm


Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Oh, I hate you so!

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Cockroaches are an integral part of a Malaysian's life. We sometimes see them at home, in our front porch, at the mamak, at the beef noodles or roast pork stall in Chinatown, in the bathroom, at your school or office canteen, well, practically anywhere.

Cockroaches are potential vectors of diseases such as dysentery, gastro-enteritis, typhoid and poliomyelitis. They are omnivorous and their diet includes fermenting substances, soiled septic dressings, hair leather, parchment, wallpaper, faeces and food for human consumption. Food may be contaminated either by the body of the cockroach or from its faeces.

I know of many people who are terrified of roaches, and yours truly is no different. They scurry about so quickly that you soon find yourself in a frenzy of dance steps as you hurriedly jump to higher ground. And the next thing you know, that little bugger has flapped open its wings and is now off the ground, flying towards you! ARGH.

On Sunday night at approximately 11:40pm when we hit into the railing on the left of the road, which then caused the dirver to swerve the car to the opposite direction, and finally resulted in a head-on collision with a large brick wall at the side of the highway.

The car is a goner. The Wira's bonnet is squashed to about one third it's original length. Thank god the three passengers within were safe as we clambered out of the car in a daze. The shock didn't do me much good. I mumbled incoherently for a few minutes while my head spinned, and eventually settled down at the side of the road nursing my sprained thumb and thigh, caused from the impact of me being thrown forcefully against the back of the front passenger seat. No blood in sight thank goodness!

The driver wasn't drunk. Neither was he high on drugs.

It was a cockroach. The driver was merely trying to shoo a baby cockroach that was scurrying about on the driver's side window. Now all literature about roaches should inform that not only do they cause diseases, they cause car accidents too!

Signing off with a slight limp...

Posted by Doreen at 11:35 am


Friday, September 09, 2005

Just Who is Mother Goose?

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Monday's child is fair of face
Tuesday's child is full of grace
Wednesday's child is full of woe
Thursday's child has far to go
Friday's child is loving and giving
Saturday's child works hard for a living
But the child that is born on the Sabbath day
Is fair and wise, and good and gay!

Who is Mother Goose anyway? Have you ever wondered who this amazing Mother Goose woman is, coming up with all these fantastic children's poem? Anyways, if you're a Mother Goose fan, I found out her identity here.

While surfing, at this site, I found a little programme that could do a quick search and find out what day I was born.. I keyed in the numbers, and, I'm a Friday child! What does being a Friday child mean? Excitedly I scrolled on to read...

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Not that it's of much significance or that it bears any truth, c'mon lighten up, it is afterall my day - FRIDAY!

Eventhough I won't be home devouring mom's cooking as planned, I guess I still deserve a good and restful one after this past week which has been ultra traumatizing! So rest I will.

1. Read "Dating Big Bird" by Laura Zigman, famous for her book "Animal Husbandry".

2. Go to the mall to pick up a few items.

3. Watch Malaysian Idol (Down to last 4 now! Go Nita!).

4. Catch up with Lisa before she heads to Beijing.

5. Attend Janielle's sister's wedding dinner.

6. Spend time with babe.

7. Do laundry.

8. Clean the room.

9. Watch Malaysian Idol result show.

... and if I still have time...

10. Spend hours lazing in bed and only get out of it for drinks, food, the toilet and to switch channels (What? Is it a crime to not have a remote for the TV?)

Now is that restful or what?

Posted by Doreen at 5:24 pm


Thursday, September 08, 2005

Mind & Body

I remember of one incident back where I complained about this severe tummy ache to my mother and she would examine my tummy by pressing around and finally telling me that there's nothing wrong. There was also once where I cut my toenails wrongly and hence resulted in in-grown nails. She grabbed the nail clipper and some other manicure / pedicure gadgets and begin plying the in-grown nail out of my flesh. I sat on the sofa with my legs propped on her thighs while she "operated" on my toe, I wailed and screamed like a woman in labour (not that I've ever been in labour, but it's like in the tv you know...), she merely told me to hush up and stop making a big deal out of it.

Being an ex-staff nurse, she brought up us tough, meaning if you have a small cut on your pinkie or fell on your knee out on the tar road while playing, you don't go running to her. She'll apply some iodine liquid to it and tell you to run along and don't be a baby.

We always have a designated medicine drawer in one of the cabinets at home, and all four of us are brought up to be well acquainted with some of the basic remedies for flu, cough, cuts, diarrhoea, etc. We all had that potential to be future pharmacists, however none ventured there, and the closest that we have is that sister No. 3 is now pursuing Medicine.

Back to that severe tummy ache many, many years ago.. Finally not being able to take my whining about the pain, she brought me to a clinic. The doctor did the same thing, pressed my tummy around, took my temperature, etc. and told Mom that I'm perfectly healthy and that it's probably just "in her head". Boy, was I insulted! Needless to say, my sisters called me a psychotic for the next few days.

Sitting at my desk here about an hour ago, it suddenly hit me - I'm probably having these psychologically-induced pains all over again. My back has been aching for the past week, my tummy feels topsy-turvy no matter what I eat, the veins in my legs feel as though they're all tangled up one huge, complicated knot. And yes, in the last week, I've been having a terribly hard time at work.

So I emailed my doctor-to-be sister and then took to calling Mom.

"Is there such a thing as stress being manifested into physical pains?" I asked after enquiring on what was she was doing.

"Umm.. yes I think so.. remember that tummy ache that you had back then?" she said. "The doctor told me that you probably were worried about something, or scared about something at school.. and I guess it resulted as pain in your tummy" she added.

Been doing some reading online about the mind and body connection, and there are indeed plenty of resources and studies regarding this matter. Eventhough the mind and the body are two separate entities, there must be a part where these two meet and interact. Therefore, being happy and healthy in the mind will result in a happy and healthy body.

Hey, at least I can use this to combat should anyone ever call me psychotic again!

Posted by Doreen at 5:51 pm


Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Steamed Fish

I was called into the boss' office this morning for a report on ongoing projects as he was away for the past 2 days. As I was updating him, his eyes grew wider and he sank deeper and deeper into his chair.

"Do you think you can stay in town this weekend and cancel your leave for Friday and Monday?" he asked.

"No.. I already promised my sisters and my mother I'll be back home.. it's been ages since I last went home," I reasoned.

"Come on, think about it.. our deadlines are scary and I'm afraid that we'll never be able to meet them if you don't work on Friday and Monday", said the boss.

I sat there quietly and cursed.

"You gotta give everything this time round.. your year end bonus depends on this project..." he added (threatened?)

I sat there quietly again. I know a lot is in my hands at the moment, and being under-staffed as we are, I can't just leave the boss in the lurch can I? And I do want this project to go go well as a large percentage of my India funds depend on my year end bonus.

He went on to further say, "I'll give you one whole week off in October.. how's that?"

I told him that I'll work something out, and if I can finish things by Friday, I'll go back to JB on Saturday and be back to the office only on Tuesday. But looking at the way things are moving this afternoon, I really doubt it.

I am beginning to really hate systems. Aren't systems developed to help us work more efficiently? Aren't systems designed to help us be more organized and to ensure that we reach maximum productivity? But why is it that my delays are always caused by systems and hierarchy protocols?

I then called Mom and told her I might not be home this weekend due to work commitments. I heard her sigh and then said, "Aiyoo... But I just went to the market this morning to get fish and prawns and to stock up the fridge!"

She went on to say what she had planned to cook for us, and also went on telling me about the huge bawal putih fish which she got and knows we love having that fish steamed with plenty of ginger.

It broke my heart. It really did.

Posted by Doreen at 2:48 pm


Thursday, September 01, 2005

Selamat Hari Merdeka!

Sudah 6 minggu adik saya Elaine berada di Dundee. Saya masih ingat, hari tu kat KLIA sebelum naik kapal terbang, dia nangis tak berhenti-henti sambil memeluk ayah dan saya. Nasib baik mak ikut bersama dia... kalau tidak, adik aku yang ini, nangisannya pasti akan lebih teruk.

Beberapa hari yang lalu, Elaine mengirim email kepada kami semua yang kat rumah. Berceritalah dia tentang cuaca, universiti, masakan, dan juga pengalaman dia di hospital sebagai doktor murid. Ada suatu malam, seorang mat saleh ditolak masuk ke wad kecemasan dengan muka yang cedera akibat jatuh dari tangga apabila mabuk. Tergelak-gelak saya membaca emailnya! Hehe, dan teringat juga pula aksi-aksi saya sendiri apabila mabuk, jatuh lah, bising menjerit-jerit lah. Tapi nasib baik tak macam si mat saleh tu yang mukanya koyak!

Elaine diberi tugas untuk menjahit mukanya, dan ini kali pertama dia! Dengan tangan yang bergetar-getar, jahitan yang pertama dan kedua tu, tak elok sangat, tetapi jahitan yang ketiga dan keempat tu, ha.. lawa jugak kata dia. Si mabuk tu, dia masih sempat bertanya kepada Elaine, "This is your first time isn't it?". Kesian Elaine! Tapi tak apa lah, si mabuk tu bukannya kisah.. sewaktu Elaine menjahit mukanya yang koyak tu, si mabuk yang gatal ni, asyik berkelip-kelip mata nak buat kacau. Kalau aku yang menjahit muka dia, hmmph, ku cucuk mata dia dengan jarum yang ada di tangan!

Elaine juga bercerita tentang kawan-kawan serumah. Rumah ini diduduki 10 orang Malaysia yang juga berkuliah di Dundee. Sempena Hari Merdeka, Elaine mengesyorkan rakan serumah untuk mengibarkan Jalur Gemilang di luar rumah untuk menujukkan semangat patriotik walaupun berada di negara orang lain. Tetapi, rakan serumah tak berkongsi semangat Elaine, dan Hari Kemerdekaan Malaysia yang ke-48 disambut seperti hari yang biasa di Dundee - basah, sejuk dan mendung.

Sedih eh? Waktu saya kat Perth, Hari Merdeka pasti disambut oleh Murdoch Malaysian Association dan kita buat mini-carnival kat universiti.. jualan kuih muih yang dibuat oleh rakan-rakan, entah dah lupa ada nasi lemak ke tak. Ada juga kawan-kawan yang datang ke kampus memakai baju tradisional untuk menunjukkan kepada semua bahawa Malaysia ni betapa warna-warni dengan pelbagai kaum yang membuat Malaysia ni unik! Apabila nampak Jalur Gemilang dikibarkan di negara orang lain (walaupun bukanlah setinggi yang kat Dataran Merdeka tu!), perasaan tu.. gembira, tapi macam nak nangis juga! Hehe.

Saya harap, pada Hari Merdeka tahun depan, Elaine dan rakan-rakan serumah akan merayakannya walaupun secara kecil-kecilan. Kat sana, mana boleh dapat Jalur Gemilang eh? Kalau takde, nanti saya hantar. Hari Mederka tu, ah, kibarlah bendera kat luar rumah!

Aah.. Merdeka saya pulak, bukannya meriah sangat. Tapi gembira melihat bendera-bendera yang dinaikkan di merata-rata tempat. Saya paling suka melihat anak-anak sekolah yang berbasikal di tepi jalan tu, kesemua basikal dalam kumpulan tu mengibarkan Jalur Gemilang di belakang. Dan waktu mereka berbasikal dengan laju, bendera pun ikut menari kat belakang!

Pada malam 30 Ogos, sewaktu menonton televisyen, drama Korean dihentikan untuk siaran ucapan Perdana Menteri. Biasanya, apabila rancangan tergendala, saya akan masuk ke tandas, kemudian mungkin ke dapur untuk mencari makanan ringan ataupun minuman. Tapi kali ini, saya duduk kat depan tv and volume pun dinaikkan untuk mendengar mesej dari Pak Lah.

Beliau memberi nasihat kepada orang Malaysia untuk bersama-sama bekerja mencapai wawasan 2020. Pak Lah kata wawasan 2020 ini tidak boleh dicapai hanya dengan usaha kerajaan, malah, semua orang Malaysia harus berkerjasama. Tak gunalah kalau Malaysia ni ada bangunan yang tinggi-tinggi, highway yang panjang dan lebar, teknologi yang canggih, ICT yang moden, tapi rakyatnya tidak mengamali sifat-sifat yang elok! Pak Lah bercakap tentang sifat orang Malaysia apabila di jalan raya. Bukannya kereta tak elok ataupun jalan tak elok, tapi cara memandu kita yang tak elok! Pak Lah cakap, nombor kemalangan di Malaysia tinggi kalau dibandingkan dengan negara lain! Beliau juga meminta supaya kita, sebagai rakyat Malaysia mempunyai ilmu taktarakyat ataupun civic mindedness sebab masih ada lagi orang yang merosakkan kemudahan awam. Juga diberi sebagai contoh ialah keganasan yang semakin merebak di kalangan masyarakat kita, sehingga murid-murid sekolah pun semakin terlibat di kes-kes jenayah. Banyak lagi yang Pak Lah cakap, tentang rasuah, tentang orang yang menggunakan teknologi untuk membuat jahat seperti menggunakan internet untuk gambar / filem lucah, VCD cetak rompak, menggunakan SMS untuk memfitnahkan orang lain, dll.

Semakin usia meningkat, saya mendapati saya ni, makin bangga akan negara kita dan juga bangga sebab saya orang Malaysia. Saya ingat, dulu, sebagai murid kolej yang berusia 18 tahun, saya pun banyak complain tentang negara kita ni. Walaupun negara kita ni masih banyak "teething problems", tapi Malaysia is home! Semenjak kepulangan saya dari Australia, baru saya sedar bahawa Malaysia ni paling best. Dan kalau saya dengar ada siapa-siapa yang kata Malaysia tak baik, Malaysia boring, hmmph.. orang ni tak tau betapa bertuah diri dia sebagai rakyat Malaysia!

Pada malam 30 Ogos juga, saya dan babe menonton filem tengah malam kat panggung wayang. Setelah iklan iklan habis, dan sebelum filem bermula, kebetulan pula waktu itu tepat 12 malam, dan didalam panggung wayang yang gelap itu, banyak yang menjerit "Selamat Hari Merdeka!". Saya hanya boleh tersenyum.

OK, saya rasa dah cukup saya merepek ni.. susah juga eh berbelog dalam Bahasa Malaysia! Nasib baik ada kamus tee hee hee! Well, sempena kempen berbelog dalam BM yang dimulakan oleh rakan belog yang lain, dan setelah membaca belog Kak Teh dan Lydia, I just thought that I had to do my part! : )

Happy 48th Merdeka, Malaysia!

Posted by Doreen at 2:45 pm