My Own Happiness Project

My Own Happiness Project
because happiness begins inside and flows out...


perfect photographer award......

Uiseh, kunun. Perfect Photographer... ada quali ka tia' oh?

But it was still a nice warm surprise to get a recognition.

I am guilty of having abandoned my flickr account after upgrading it to -pro- and when I chanced upon it earlier, I had a few mails and a few of my pics have been marked as favourite... terharu juga lah...

Yes, I am determined to upload more often, thanks, my unknown supporters!!


when all plans leaves me still alone........

Oh no, what am I to do with such weekend night when I have to spend it all by myself?
  1. Plan A is catching an early flight back to UK
  2. Plan B has group outing with CG... reminds me of the old days when I had my own CG too, sigh...
  3. Plan C has a date, so dinner is a no-can't-do
  4. Plan D is going back to KL for the weekend to close in a gap of long distant relationship
  5. Plan E... well Plan E involves drinking, don't know if I want to go that direction yet...
  6. Ben is in Membakut with Mom
  7. Emme and Sandra is going up to Membakut to see Ben and Mom
  8. Dad has to work...
  9. I guess I'll just watch movie on my own... again... Monsters vs Aliens maybe?

first times to remember forever........

The last article on Men's Health Malaysia's May 2009 Issue features a list of defining moments we might have forgotten, being jaded, roughened by the cruel reality of Life over the year. I think I remember some of them, but not all too clearly, yet memory lane central nonetheless.....

Realising that your dad is not Superman
Complete with flaws, unfulfilled dreams and worldly wisdom. Your takeaway? Learn from his mistakes, not repeat them.
I am yet to realise that I am not Superman! Anyway, I remember one discussion I had with Dad, that time I was debating why I should not take the offer to UM to do medicine locally (I was midway through my A-levels that might send me abroad - the dream of any young Sabahan chaps tired of small town life) but Dad told me about his dream of sending us to local Universities (Dad's generation still taken into yonder-days prestigious names like UM), I followed and as a blessing in disguise, the economy crashed that year (1997) many students abroad got sent back while I secured a place in an institution that makes me who I am today. Dad still ain't Superman, but Superman doesn't know how to be a dad!

Going to a football game
That magical moment when you climbed the stones steps and caught sight of that wonderful amphitheatre for the first time. It was so big. It still makes your heart skip a beat.
The first time I went for a live football match was during SUKMA while I was still studying, and that time I went to Shah Alam Stadium with Soon Hock to watch the final match of Malaysia vs Thai, where Malaysia lost by a self-goal. Embarrassing, but I remembered the human wave best!! I'd go again just to do the human waves!

Casting your first vote
You'll never have a sense of being empowered like you did during your virgin visit to the polling station, even if it is a school. Mainly because by the time the following election came around, you'd realised they're all as bad as each other and may have never voted again.
My first time casting a vote was for the General Election-12. It was fun, that's all I remembered. A tad bit disorientating, but fun nonetheless.

Finishing a difficult novel
A real sense of achievement comes from having read and understood a work of literature. The fact that it proved to be the only 'difficult' novel you've read isn't really important.
I have read a few difficult novels, mind you... But one that gave a a great sense of achievement was being able to do Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder in only 5 days, the week prior to a final exam during Klang Hospital attachment.

Negotiating a pay rise
All you need was to ask, stating your case clearly and calmly. And had the good sense to know the limit you could push.
I guess being a humble government servant I would not have the liberty to negotiate my pay rise, we all depend on Cuepecs to do it. But I remember my first paying job as a floor staff at MPH Midvalley, but I kinda screwed up when the management saw my staff-purchase went up to over RM1k in just 3 weeks - that's waaay too much for a part-timer's purchase. The boss had to call me in to the room, I owned up to having used my staff benefit to buy stuffs for my friends, he forgave my naivety, gave me a chance but I resigned the next day, hah. Anyway, for all its worth, it was great being a walking discount voucher, even for just 3 weeks!

Hosting a dinner party
You arranged the knives in the correct order, topped up every one's drinks and you didn't doze off when the plus one from hell started talking about Gossip Girls. You're officially civilised.
Organising a dinner wasn't that hard when all I needed to do was to get the raw materials and my nurses did all the cooking, arranging and cleaning up after that.

Realising it's more than friends
Your pals teased you incessantly and you played along with the long phone calls and the longer IM-ing. Then it hit you that you meant more to you than going to the mamak stalls with your friends.
Huh? I don't understand the statement but I think I can guess from the title. The first time I felt it was more than friends was when she took so much care to nurse my bleeding fingers (for goodness' sake it was just a bloody paper cut, literally) but I felt really good about it ;-P

Opening your first pay-slip
Chances are you wasted every cent of that glorious payslip on a pair of shoes or that worthless piercing - and the fact that you could do that was exactly the point.
My first pay check... let's see when was that... ah, August 2003. I think my first splurge was on a Canon Supershot A400 camera, and I never regretted that purchase - some of my best photos were taken with that ol' junk.

At the driver's seat
You never felt more powerful, more in charge of your destiny or where you wanted to go - even if its just to the 7 Eleven down the road.
My first farthest drive before getting a license was with Henry going to Southern Park to get a haircut. It was the champion car ESA6588 - the training ground to all my siblings - and that time I was going on 20km/hour and I can sense the cars behind me were getting annoyed - but suck it up, I am still in front and this is MY WHEEL!! Woohoo!! I passed my driving test the afternoon of the same day I left KK to study in KL, so I never touched the wheel again until about a year later when I came back for holidays.

Patted on the back
You've worked so hard that you've forgotten about the rewards. So when the boss visited your cubicle and flashed you that rare smile of approval, you realised that there was more to the job than getting paid.
My boss is the forever smiling type and always dishing out encouraging words so I don't have a problem with rare smiles... (thanks a zillion DrYusof) but I remember the first tangible pat I received from my job was on this lowly programme I got involved in setting up while I was still in Tungku, Lahad Datu. When Dato'DrNarimah, the Head of Family Health Division of KKM came to my humble clinic, I had to show her some slides of the activities that we carried out. After the whole presentation, she asked to flash back to the few slides on Father Friendly Workshop - those 2 slides I inserted just for completion's sake. But Dato' has different take on it, she was impressed with the simple work and granted me a slot, there and then, to present the activity as a free paper during the National Technical Meeting for Family Health, Ministry of Health in Sunway! Till today, whenever I think back of that moment, I go "Wow..."

Getting dumped
Or rejected. You couldn't articulate the sensation you felt deep inside at the time. You just wanted it to go away. It took you a few more exposures before you realised that the gnawing feeling was called heartbreak.
Yep, I remember the first. 1997. It was like being asked to down a bottle of vinegar while watching Titanic over and over again. The whole thing felt terribly long, painful and leaves an aftertaste in the mouth that makes you nauseous. Exactly that.

Saying no
And meant it. Whether it was drinking or plainly just doing something bad. Remember how good it felt to walk away?
Saying no to other people wasn't half as hard as saying no to myself. I can't remember the first but I remember the last - I was fighting the temptation to buy another leather bag on discount at MetroJaya MidValley. It was on about 70% off, and it would definitely add an air of sophistication to my not so sophisticated outlook. But I figured I don't need another bag at that time and walked away. It wasn't a good feeling, I still dream about the richness of texture of the leather and how good it smelled and how handsome the bag looks, but deep down inside I am glad I didn't get it, a small victory but a victory nonetheless.

Getting tested
Your first blood work, whether it was brought on because you had a STD scare or a new job, you've never felt so nervous waiting for the results.
I am never anxious going for a test or exam, but I will have a near mental breakdown waiting for the result. Once I didn't go and see my result of my exams, even after 3 days being displayed on the Faculty's notice board. Our marks were shown against our matrix number so people couldn't come and tell me my result. When I finally went there to see, it was at night, and my knees were wobbly and I almost pissed in my pants in excitement and relief to know I passed. 3 days!! 3 long and excruciating days!!

Hitting the sweet spot
We're talking about sports like golf, badminton or tennis here, and not anything you might get up in the bedroom. Although it doesn't mean it doesn't apply as well.
Okay, if it's about sports, I may not have much experiences to remember. But I remember how good it felt to finally know how to swim after practicing at Klang Sports Complex - and after reading the theory on swimming from 3 book I borrowed from the library. Pelik tetapi benar!

the minister's visit........

As if today's tender meeting wasn't stressful enough, half way through it I received another sms from my Boss asking that all the AMOHs were to stay back for a meeting with the Director tonight at 8pm and we're expected to be there when the Dear Mister Minister Sir of Health Ministry - Dtk Liow Tiong Lai comes for a visit at Queen Elizabeth Hospital tomorrow morning.

That means I had to cancel the committee meeting in Beluran, change my flight ticket at the very last minute and rush to a few places in a very short allocation of time... but, hey, work is work.

The meeting tonight lasted till 1130pm and I was supposed to be watching Monsters VS Aliens at 1Borneo with my staffs at 1120pm.... and again, well, who says that government servants are allowed to have fun... any fun!!??! Right?


what's in there?............

In the short span of 24 hours before the opening of our Quotation Box for the current project tenders, I have been visited, or rather cornered, by at least half a dozen contractors, up to about 9pm yesterday and another one today. Within that time also I have been handed over 2 envelopes which I declined, not checking what were inside them.

The whole incident with the envelopes really makes me anxious, I've just started my career here, I don't want to spoil it with 'incentives' like these... really scary.

Quotation submissions will be opened and discussed in the meeting as scheduled this afternoon, hopefully none of my committee members came in with a pocket slightly full..


tajau, tajau, mana kau, tajau..........

Haha... It's the time of the year again, and I am (again) inviting myself to anyone's party that involves tajau... Any takers? Or givers, rather?

arteo in bali: day 2...... to the beach.....

Day two started early, I was still not getting the vacation feel, and I was anxious to get to the internet to get in touch with the people in Beluran - getting updates on what's happening and doing some consultation over decisions that I have to make... I realised that I could not find my Sony Ericsson handphone since the night before when I wanted to put up alarm clock for this morning. Being slightly light-headed from the Bintangs, I thought I had just misplaced it somewhere under the bunch of luggage I brought, but when I still can't find it in the morning, I got a bit suspicious...

Morning view of the Pura from my balcony.

It seems like we had some four legged visitors that night...

After finishing with the internet, I had breakfast with Malte at this place called Piggy's Bar. The set breakfast goes for Rp24.000 for an American Breakfast of eggs, toast, home-made minced beef steak and a glass of orange juice (but it tasted more like cordial, realy)

The view from Piggy's Bar, over looking a surfboard shop.

Vacation mode really started on day 2 at the beach when there was nothing planned for the day at all, just lazing around sucking in all the sun, sea and sand........ But knowing me, I got slightly restless after a couple of hours under the sun and I went off looking for an air-conditioned Mall.....

The group of Malaysian friends who were staying in the same hotel, they are staffs from Air Asia, who's been to Bali like on a regular basis... so these people know their way around.


Getting a shot - Friendster style - described as taking picture with an extended hand, lens facing us, and slightly tilted above eye level. This is a very difficult technique so we had to take a few times to get the perfect shot...

At night after dinner, I went off on my own looking for coffee and a place to just chill, and a few doors away from the hotel, there's this Cafe called The Local Cafe selling Illy Coffee.

Even Illy Coffee has got its shrine with statue of Ganesh on it...

Americano, served with the wrong type of biscotti

Mocha, also with the wrong type of biscotti

Day 2 was pretty uneventful, except for the fact that I have finally sunk in the fact that my phone was missing, but not until the next day when Malte was making a commotion (you did, right?) about his missing rashsuit, and I complained about my missing phone too... but that's a story for another day. Stay tuned!!


when god is just a cup away........

Caffeine is my shepherd, I shall not doze
It maketh me to wake in green pastures
It leadeth me beyond the sleeping masses
It restoreth my buzz
It leadeth me in the paths of consciousness for its name's sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of addiction,
I will fear no Equal (tm)
For thou art with me; thy cream and thy sugar they comfort me
Thou preparest a carafe before me in the presence of Starbucks
Thou anointest and taste shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the House of Folger's forever. Amen.
I shall reserve my comments about this poem....


arteo in bali: day 1 - kuta kute kuta kute.....

So the time finally came, the long awaited vacation that I think I most deserved, heh. But as of my other vacations, the same feeling of heaviness to leave was felt, furthermore with the growing anxiety of the Swine Flu at that time, still on level 3. And also, I didn't quite tell my boss that I was going away on a trip abroad, just smsed him I'll be away for a trip. He messaged back 'ok' and I left it at that.

The international boarding hall of LCCT.

Much to my horror, on my way boarding the flight, I took a glance at the newspaper someone was carrying along, and I saw - WHO declared Level 4 Pandemic!!! Dang!! Dang!! Dang!! But that would not spoil my vacation...

I didn't know that Air Asia has abolished the free seating system, and now, we can choose to sit on our desired seats for a fee -- yea, they sure can charge for anything. I was seated at an isle seat, an Indonesian lady at the window and a white guy in between us. The lady was quite chattery and wouldn't stop talking to me (my mistake of being friendly to her in the beginning) and the white guy thought we were husband and wife separated because of the fixed seating system. But the lady kept on chatting to me over the guy's face so I offered to switch seat with him. Somewhere over Johore or Perak I decided I had enough chatting for the day and put on my ear-phones and she finally took a nap.

Arrived Denpasar on time, and while on the ground, made friend with the white guy seated next to me, turned out he was a German also traveling alone. So we decided to share a cab down to Kuta centre and since he had a little bit more idea of where to go, I decided to check out the hotel he was going to stay in.

The queue for immigresion clearence -- waited almost a good hour before I cleared.

I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport.

A common sight in Bali, you see this everywhere, I really mean everywhere... These are daily offerings to the Hindu diety left out on the streets for protection and blessings for their business.

The view from the balcony of the hotel I was staying at -- I figured it would do the scene no justice to do it in black and white...

The pura or temple just in front of the hotel.

Street of Kuta, on Poppies Lane 2.

Sometimes they would leave out cigarettes as offerings to the dieties, but I never recalled seeing any gods-figure holding a cigarette in their hands...

And the main attraction -- Kuta beach...

Once I saw this skinny person basking in the sun, topless, and I thought that the guy has quite curiously big nipples -- only to realise that (she) was not a guy afterall, she was quite skinny so her boobs went flat when she laid down.

Stone statues also a common sight in Bali.

...even alien octopus statues...

...and mermaid-like characters...

Vendors selling their goods which they balance on their heads.

Even sufboards can be carried on the head...

Balinese playing kite from the rooftop.

The sunset from the hotel balcony.

I was planning for a light traveling, but after I unpacked my toiletries, I was thinking if 'light' is still the best word to describe it...

After a cremation ceremony.

I went to get dinner with Malte - the German friend I met on the plane, and for the first night, we had nasi padang, the first nasi padang meal for the trip which later became one of the most economical staple...

Clockwise from top left: tempe gurih, terung, rendang sapi, tapioca leaves and sambal to be eaten with the leaves.

Clockwise from top right: rendang ayam, perkedel (potato cake), paru (lungs), ayam sambal, hard boiled eggs, fish curry and tofu.

Another more elabotare offering.

Kuta, in my opinion, isn't really a picture of Indonesia, it is more like a mini Europe or a mini Australia, heavily infiltrated to the point of saturation with western commercialism. Even this Bubba Gump Shrimp Company as seen in Forrest Gump movie - but the real reason I took this picture was because the shrimp looks more like a mosquito larvae than a crustacean.

While strolling around Kuta town, we wandered aff a tad too far from familiarity, so we got some directions back from people we come across on the street, all too eager to give us a ride on their ojek and non too eager to tell us properly how to get back - after some wandering around through back lanes and what nots, we found our way back. I hesitated in pulling out my map I was carrying, gbecause I don't want to look too touristy.

On the way back, we went past a few bar and night clubs, all with their own way to attract costumers - one even had a fire stunt in front of its bar, featuring a ladi in bikini spinning fire balls, and hoola-hoop on fire!

Finally we settled in one club called Wild Cats - and had my first Bintang for the trip... and while at the bar, some ladies in skimpy nurse-attire came up dancing (and squatting and doing everything else, mostly decent la...) and I think the whole point of doing that on the bar is so that you can see the panties, heh.

I went back after 3 Bintangs.