31 August 2007

Macha ... satu lagi !!!

It's birthday time !!!! Gosh, time passes really quickly, doesn't it? More so when one is having fun !!!

My past year had been full of fun and surprises, so I'm really convinced it won't be a bad thing to have another year full of good things !

Happy Birthday to me ! 31 isn't such a bad age to be !

What was really cool about the past year ?

I found my sunshine, that's definately tops! I call her sunshine because she exudes warmth, and gives you that great fuzzy feeling you get when you walk in the soft glow of the morning sun !

Again, the travel has been great. I think of all things, I discovered Hanoi, which I really liked ! It's impossible not to like it if you are a traveller looking for 'retro' places.

My parent's continued good health ! Dad retired ! And he's now a home-maker of sorts ! It's really cool to see him do his gardening. It's time to take a well deserved rest, dad.

And not least, you, my small group of readers and blogpals. Considering the fact that I haven't written a single Top Ten list for a very long time now, I'm surprise anyone still peeks in, but you do peek in ! =)

Thanks everyone for your wishes. Personally, I'm wishing for another good year ahead - whatever good means.

Merdeka, anyone ?

Finally, Malaysia is 50. All hail the great nation !

But seriously, who are we kidding?

Sometimes, when I gaze out of taxi windows in faraway lands while rushing to airports, I do feel thankful for the home I have, the life I enjoy, and all the good things that have turned out in my life. It must be a blessing to be a Malaysian when you are surrounded by poverty in a foreign nation.

But as I reflect on what it means to Malaysia to be 50, I think it's not the achievements that will stand out. In my mind, what we have not achieved speaks louder about Malaysia.

Stand back, reflect, think for a moment. Despite the Twin Towers. Despite the grandeur of Putrajaya. Despite all the great infrastructure projects.

I really don't want to make a list of our failings here, so I'll just say that I think we as a nation look great from the outside, but is rotten at the core. I can understand why my peers are so willing to flock to other countries in a heartbeat.

I spent some time overseas recently, and while I was away in another country, usually labeled by Malaysian government as racist, I learnt the true meaning of multiculturalism. I understood what acceptance is. And I understood how that's different from tolerance.

And I can't say I see a lot of it in Malaysia, despite our constant trumpet blowing about how multi cultural we are, and how great the integration is.

I can really rant on forever, but I really have this to say: it's been 50 years, and we've all turned out alright. But imagine what we can achieve if we free ourselves from this self imposed malaise and be a more progressive nation that is not afraid to leave the past, and look forward to a future that belongs to all Malaysians.

Happy Merdeka.

22 August 2007

Back to Bondi

One of the best things to do in Sydney is taking short walks along the many coastal areas, or hikes along their many National Parks.

I revisited the Bondi-Coogee walk this year with Little Miss May and here colleague this year last Saturday. You can read Little Miss May's rendition of events here, while my previous hike is journaled here.

While the weather could have been a lot nicer (at least it was dry), it was still one heck of a good walk !

Little Miss May and me took the bus from Circular Quay to North Bondi .. where we met up with Juca, her Brazilian colleague. If all Brazilians are like him, I think the whole country will be cool !

On the southern end of Bondi is the iconic Bondi Iceberg ...

The Eastern Beaches Coastal Walk is the official name of the walk from Bondi to Coogee, and it takes you thru Bondi, Tamarama, Bronte, Gordon Bay, Clovelly to Coogee.

We stopped often to admire the views. Seen here are my walk mates admiring a cliff full of white blossoms ...

Pounding waves at Tamarama beach, the first beach along the walk after Bondi.

That day, there were a number of life guard trainings, and this was one such training. They were practicing how to rescue someone into a boat, and it was quite an interesting watch, especially since the waves weren't exactly genteel, you know. The record rescue in Bondi was 280 on a single day ... imagine that ... the life guards pulled 280 people in a single day from the water !!!

Nice clouds ... it was sunny when we started the walk, but it turned really windy and cloudy towards the end ... and by the time we got to Coogee, I was feeling the cold ...

We had lunch at Bronte, where May ordered this mouth watering Egg Benedict with Smoked Salmon. Heavenly, don't you agree ?

The lovely Clovelly Bowling Club has great ocean views ... if you need to find a great place to learn lawn bowl (yawn), this will be it ...

It was nothing short of a superb walk, cold as it was at some times. I really want to thank Little Miss May for being such a nice host, and to her Brazilian colleague Juca ! It's people like you who make walks interesting and worth the while, even on dreary, cold days. You guys ROCK !

Blog Plug: Do visit my new photoblog at mozphotos.blogspot.com, I'll be putting in some more Sydney and Bondi photos in the coming days. Thanks ...

13 August 2007

The heart of Sydney ...

I'm now in Sydney !!!

Flew in on Saturday night, and touched down on Sunday morning. When I arrived, I was greeted by a really nice, warm winter day, 21 celcius, I hear.

Since I can't get a room in the hotel until 2 pm (and I was there by 9.20 am already), I decided to just head down to the city, with camera in hand.

And I'll let the pictures do the talking !!!

I started off here, at the Rocks Weekend Market ...

Then I went here, to the Rocks waterfront, where old warehouses now have some of the best waterfront views, with some of the best restaurants in town as well !

And then, following along Circular Quay, I ended up here, naturally, at the Sydney Opera House.

And met up with this guy here, one of the duo of didgeridoo street performers, whose music blends with techno beats pretty well, really ...

And moved on to say G'Day to the many birds that hover all around the waterfront.

Before squinting to find this fella at the Botanical Gardens, right next to the Opera House ..

And then for the highlight of the day !!!! I met up with Little Miss May !!!! Woooohoooo ~~!!! It's great to see Sydney the way a Sydneysider does, and better still, one who has Malaysian roots.

And what better way to celebrate the coming together of Malaysians overseas than by ... going for lunch ?? In a small restaurant without the frills, but with great food, just like Malaysians would back home !!!??

It was a greeeeeeeat day for me !! Thanks for the enjoyable company !

We went walking along the Sydney CBD from Circular Quay down to Chinatown, via the more scenic route, which passes through Pyrmont Bridge, then thru Darling Harbour.

And then had some very nice Stirfry Chinese Noodles here ... helped down with some very unusual Siu Loong Bao. You have to try the food here. No kidding.

And then we headed back to Darling Harbour, where we sat on the Harbour Steps at ate some really nice Gelato while the chilly wind sent shivers down me spine. That's Darling Harbour as seen from Pyrmont Bridge.

And then, finally, we ended where I started ... QVB. I really wanted to go take some sunset photos from Mrs Macquarie's Chair in the Botanical Gardens, but really, both of us were a little tired from all that walking ... so we settled for a little Hyde Park walk, which was really pleasant.

QVB's a beauty, isn't it ?

I think I'm loving Sydney ...

06 August 2007

Here we go again ...

To me, one perk of my current job is the travel I get to do. Life's too short to spend cooped up in the office, or even within the same place or country.

I personally believe that humans have a spirit ingrained within us to travel and discover. Our basic curiosity takes us to places we've never been, to try food we're not familiar with, to discover cultures beyond our own.

Today marks the start of a road journey that will take me to between 8 to 11 cities in the next 2 months or so. This week, I'm headed to Singapore.

Somewhere within that time, I hope that I'll still find the time to see you blow out your birthday cake, and get your scroll for those 4 years of toil, while I realize the adventure I'm looking forward to.

While driving here today, my dad was telling me how he used to cycle 5 miles to attend school, because grandpa couldn't afford the 9 ringgit train fare for a school term's worth of train rides from Malim Nawar to Kampar. In our generation, we've both come very far from that.

I live a charmed life, and for that, I feel blessed and good. Remind me to think about my dad's daily toil to attend school whenever I feel short of inspiration.

So, to the blogpals who see my comments thinning, it's really because I only have time to read your blogs nowadays. I'm still hanging around, but with time coming at a premium, I can't comment on every blog I come across ..

02 August 2007

Just like that ...

Some poor gentlemen just collapsed and died outside Dunkin' Donuts here in PBD, opposite my office. Despite some foreigner's best effort to revive the person, and despite the ambulance coming quite quickly, the gentlemen is now laying dead on the pavement, waiting to be picked up by the police.

There's a sizeable crowd around the poor gentlemen, who is now covered with some newspaper, and cordoned off with a few traffic cones.

Condolences to his family.

Life is fragile like that ...

I'm renewing my vow to spend life with vigor and to enjoy all the things I want to do, love all the people who means a lot to me, and to never have to regret not doing anything because I didn't make the time to do it. Time to buy a flash for the camera and start chasing bugs, perhaps. Time to take my dad for a vacation too.

Sometimes, we need a bit of jolt to reiterate the messages that are all around us.