Saturday, June 30, 2007

Chinatown in Palembang

We usually shop at Pasar Perumnas is pocket option legit which is the closest to us. However, the only things we get from there are vegetables and tofu. I'm serious....thats all we buy there. We don't buy any meat or fish from here because it just doesn't seem clean enough. Its a good thing that our family is into healthy living.

Every month or so, we do make the 30min drive to Palembang's 'Chinatown' where we can buy pork and other chinese ingredients. This shop, Sahabat, is one of the gateways into the wet market where the pork and vegetables are sold. Sahabat sells all other dry groceries. There is a little doorway at the back but I didn't take any photos because my flash would probably have caused the price of my shopping to double.

We went there for the que es binary barley, red beans and lap cheong (chinese sausage). For pork, we need to be there by 6.30am and thats not usually possible since Richard needs to be dropped at work. We didn't get any today :(

Its a teeny tiny shop but its crammed full of items that the local Chinese obviously buy. I noticed that there were many imported brands that aren't even sold in the supermarkets.

These tins of baby formula took up so much room that they had to stack right up to the roof and binance funciona en mexico even created a false ceiling to hold a little more of them up there. Once again, there were quite a few imported brands there too.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Walking (maybe), Talking (maybe), CLIMBING (definitely!)

He can't quite walk yet but he is now CLIMBING. Not just hang around....he actually MOVES upwards. This boy does NOT know the word "can't" and his ambition now seems limitless. He can barely stand on his own let alone walk, how did he get it in his head that he could move himself upwards?



My mom said: "One day he'll tell you he's going up Mt Everest"

I nearly had a panic attack thinking of the death rate of 1 out of every 10 successful attempts but Oh My! What high hopes we have for babies!

Food, Fashion and Friends

HerFabLife, my fab life, your fab life. Life IS fabulous. I always find that it is especially happy when there is food, fashion and friends involved.

Women these days definitely have it all with careers that allow them the financial ability to meet up with friends at the latest restaurants, shop for the latest fashions or just chill for a day at a spa. Even though I am now a career mom (doesn't that sound better than SAHM?) and have absolutely no friends here in Palembang, I still find myself browsing through food and fashion online. I do travel out of this place regularly and really don't want to look and act like I've just walked out of the jungle.

There is a new social lifestyle community targeting the urban hip and trendy woman. HerFabLife.com provides the latest information on fashion styles, newest restaurants, bars, spas, salons and retail store openings. Freelance bloggers, aspiring writers, and students can all contribute content to the site. Like many other networking communities, there is a voting and comment system in place. I always find it useful to read what other people's experiences of a place are.

There is a 'HOT GUY of the week' tab too. Although....I'm still trying to work out if these guys were put up by the girls or they put THEMSELVES up there. And YES, married women look at hot guys from time to time. No harm in that.

The site is mainly targeted at women but there is also a tab there FOR HIM. Who says the modern man doesn't need the latest information on food, fashion and friends? Even if he isn't the one interested, his woman may need to find something for him. Like a good haircut!

Stumbled across the 7 blunders of the World

I've just started using 'Stumble Upon' and it has been fun. This list of the 7 blunders of the world rung a bell with me so here it is:


1. Wealth without work

2. Pleasure without conscience

3. Knowledge without character

4. Commerce without morality

5. Science without humanity

6. Worship without sacrifice

7. Politics without principle


—Mahatma Gandhi


* Attributed to Gandhi in a December 15, 1998, article in 'Edupage', an online newsletter published by 'Educause', an international nonprofit association dedicated to transforming higher education through information technologies.

Online File Sharing

This is interesting. A short time ago, I wrote about online backup, not there is also Driveway - Online File Sharing.

While most email providers have limits to attachment file sizes (typically 10 MB) Driveway allows you to share files of up to 500MB.
For no fees at all, you can easily send large files to friends/family or post on your blog by simply creating a URL link.

There is no registration required and you can start using the service straight away. You also have the choice of whether or not you want to leave your email. If you do, then you will receive the 'Download' and 'Delete' links by confirmation mail. If you don't provide any email, then only the 'Download' link will appear on the confirmation page.

This will be useful for sharing all the videos I have of Aaron. As long as my connection is stable and fast, it shouldn't be a problem. WOW! 500MB is almost a movie. I think its just another 220MB for a full movie I think.



Thursday, June 28, 2007

Breastfeeding? Maybe there is nothing coming out

Since the start of my breastfeeding career, I have heard too much of the words 'Maybe there is nothing coming out'. It is extremely frustrating and demoralising to hear these words but at the same time, understandable that other people may think that way. Babies should not be fed to a schedule and I have stuck to this rule from Day 1. So, when Aaron asks for a feed just 30 mins after he's had one, its only logical that people think he didn't get enough the first time.

What they don't realise is that breastfeeding is not only for a baby's nutritional needs. Its also very much for a baby's emotional needs. Thats why the act of breastfeeding is also called NURSING. A baby may feed for comfort, to calm him/herself, just to be close to mom, to deal with frustrating situations, to soothe teething gums, to go to sleep, to deal with developmental milestones etc etc etc

So you see, it really is a multi purpose tool that a mother can use to nurture her child. I'm deaf to all comments saying that I'm spoiling him by feeding on demand.

Poverty

The red wording on the sign translates roughly to "Sincerely requesting your help"


This little boy is sitting in front of that sign. His father was pulling him along and I think its his older brother walking next to the mobile stretcher.


This is just one of many heart wrenching sights around Palembang. I don't want to be 'immune' to these sights but there are just so many poor people around that I have noticed I don't feel as moved by them as I did in the beginning. I do my small bit by donating whenever we are stopped at the lights or in slow traffic but I always feel that this isn't enough. The money will help them through the next meal or perhaps the next day but it doesn't solve their problems. As the CARE website points out, education is the key to defeating poverty.

What will I do to help the poor?

Drop Everything, The Police are Back

EVERY LITTLE THING SHE DOES IS MAGIC. so, i left a MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE for ROXANNE. the VOICES INSIDE MY HEAD say "you have me AROUND YOUR FINGER with EVERY BREATH YOU TAKE"

No matter how old or young you are, you are bound to know and love the music of the Police. Even if you don't know it, you would have heard one of their songs. It is not until you go out and buy yourself the Police Cd that you will be reminded of how pervasive their music has been. They aren't really from 'my generation' but I definitely know and love their songs. The 2 disc compilation of the Police Cd was released on June 5 and includes a vintage poster.

Please click on this to go and view an awesome banner where you can watch The Police's videos, listen to tracks from The Police's new 2 cd hits collection, enter to win a trip to NYC to see The Police in concert and even view details about their current world tour. Just click on the picture...

The video tab actually allows you to watch the music videos. And, some of the songs such as Roxanne are available to listen to. To my US readers, you can Enter the Contest to win a trip to their concert in Madison Square Garden.

Uh Oh! I can't get ROXANNE out of my head now. I went and clicked on it in the Jukebox. I'm like that with songs I like....they'll just keep going round and round my head (for DAYS sometimes).


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Rumah Sakit Pusri

Richard closed the door on his little toe a couple of days ago. It was a really bad cut with blood dripping all over the floor. So, in the end, we decided he'd better go get it looked at and cleaned at the Rumah Sakit Pusri (Pusri Hospital). This is one of the better medical facilities in Palembang.

It is actually the 2nd time we have been to the hospital. The first was when Aaron broke out in a rash all over his body. That time we couldn't find any staff at the hospital so we had to leave to find a different doctor.

Anyway, take a look at these photos.




AND THE END RESULT.......

So....I really really hope we don't need any emergency medical attention while we're living in Palembang. Actually, people over here fly to Malaysia or Singapore if they have any major illnesses.

What is your definition of wealthy?

My frivolous definition is to be able to watch the Monte Carlo Grand Prix from the balcony of my hotel room. That is my personal definition of wealthy. Do you have one?

Anyway, I like novels as much as anybody else but its a well written book on trading or 'growing' my money that really excites me. When I quit my job in 2004, I started my new job as an amateur home trader. I LOVED IT. I definitely looked forward to waking up each morning and 'getting to work'.Thats when I started all the reading on money. It used to be mainly books on technical analysis of stocks but it was inevitable that I also read all the books on how to make your money grow, how to make
your money work for you etc etc etc....

After 10 months of not reading and doing little trading, I've started up again. Trading AND reading. Its exciting. And the book I'm currently reading has really kicked me into action again by forcing me to re-write my financial goals. The book is 'Money Secrets of the Rich' by JohnBurley. While the title comes across like those in celebrity gossip magazines the contents of the book are much more useful.

I'm not here to give a summary of the book but I would like to share the single point that I truly believe gets each of us started on the journey to meeting our financial goals. This is to write down what your goals are. Answer the question of what it means for you to be wealthy and what steps you will take to do this. The answers should be on paper (the physical white stuff or in a Word document) and not just in your head.

My husband and I did this exercise a few years ago when we were newlyweds. While I am the main finance controller *chuckle* the fact that we sat down to determine what we wanted to achieve and how we would do it has allowed us to avoid a lot of arguments. Before we married, we did have quarrels around this topic but after the exercise, I can honestly say that we probably only have a minor tiff regarding money once a YEAR!

OK. Thanks for reading this post. My gift to you is the advice to allocate some time now to write out your financial goals. Its a nobrainer, LOTS of books advocate the exercise. Thousands read but don't act so do it TODAY!

Moisturise Moisturise Moisturise

This certainly is the moto for keeping your skin looking young and fresh. Sometimes, when I'm in a drier climate, my face feels like paper after a shower so...even though I don't moisturise over here in Indonesia, I definitely do it on my travels.

I used to visit Japan quite often and I marvelled at the flawless skin of all the Japanese women. I'm sure it has to do with their diet and sun aversion but I know from talking to them that they are also very disciplined in their cleansing/moisturising routine. There is a new skincare line that has been launched for Sensitive Skin. Arouge is an all natural product that has been widely used by dermatologists in Japan and was recently launched in the US.



There are products for a complete facial cleansing routine complete with make-up remover, face wash, toner, treatment gel, moisturizer, skin brightener, night cream and sunblock. There is free shipping on bundles and all orders of $100 or more for purchases now.

Child proofing your clothes?

The main reason to ChildProof your home is to prevent the inquisitive little toddlers from going where they shouldn't.

Aaron has been a completely breastfed baby from day 1. So, it was inevitable that he develop his own sign language for communicating that he needed a feed. It used to be sticking his two fingers in his mouth. Since last week, he has discovered he could add sticking his other arm down the collar of my shirts to emphasize his point. He just sticks his hand in and hangs his elbow on my collar! Today I tried wearing a round neck-T and he still tried to stretch the collar and had his arm dangling there!

I need child proof clothes. Either that or I'll have to make sure he's fed frequently when we're out. I wonder what he'll do if I wear a turtle neck....

P/S this is cute ok. don't anybody think its perverted!

A shelf inside a cupboard?

In an attempt to make our home safer for the now extremely mobile Aaron, we have cleared the floors of everything. The bags we used to keep in the living area have been moved to the tops of cupboards. The boxes that we have not been able to unpack have been moved to the spare room. I'd get rid of the ugly sitting room chairs if I could but.....they belong to the landlord.

What this place needs is some nifty storage space. So far, I've moved the shelves into an open space cupboard so that I can still have the compartments yet have it closed away from Aaron's explorations. We had step ladders leaned against the wall of the inner garden but Aaron has discovered it so they've had to move to. This boy gets into EVERYTHING.

It would be good if we could get some more shelving and or racks to raise things off the floor level. Preferably used since this is only temporary. When we lived in Klang and Penang, we had gone to industrial shops for household goods because they tended to be cheaper. Places like American material handling corp. would have been ideal. I think the idea of shopping at these places started when we used to make visits to factories as part of my Engineering course.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Did you know?

I was always told that twin skipped a generation in families. It turns out thats actually an old wives tale and the occurances of twins have nothing to do with that. While there is research that shows that the conception of twins is more likely to happen to taller, heavier and African American women, the real reason of their occurance is still unknown. These days the rise in the number of multiple births is due to fertility drugs.

I watched the amazing National Geographic documentary 'In The Womb' when I first conceived Aaron. Last night, they had another 'In The Womb' episode out focusing on multiple births. Its even more interesting! There have been documented instances of twins who played a game in the womb, playing the SAME game when they were around 1.

Since making friends with a pair of twins in primary school, I've always wanted to be a twin. YES, there must be lots of problems, such as rivalry or individuality, involved but I still think its cool. Even today.

I used to think that having twins of my own would be cool too. I'm not so sure about that now if both came out like Aaron! HA HA. The only bonus would be that I'd have to go through pregnancy and childbirth just once and be done with it.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Did you walk to school?

I used to catch the train to school in Brisbane. So, yes, I did walk to school. When we lived in Ipoh, my mother used to drive me every day. However, I do remember her allowing my brother and I to walk to catechism on Sundays. That was about it though. No walking by ourselves at any other time.

When we lived in Klang, the little kids in the neighborhood were all driven to school. They weren't even allowed to walk to the park 200m away from their homes. It is just too unsafe for children to be out unaccompanied. So, those poor kids used to skip rope in the small garage area, roller skate (yes, skate not blade) and play in that cement area while a beautiful park with a children's area was just 200m away. Its no wonder that they prefered the more sedentary games of PLAYSTATION.

In Palembang this morning, when we were out for our morning walk, we came across a girl who appeared to be around 7 or 8. She was having a great time wandering slowly to school. On other days, we usually see two brothers who seem to take a different route to school every day. Chatting, playing around and generally being free and having fun. Palembang is still safe enough for kids to do this.

I wonder what Aaron's school days will be like? Perhaps I will end up walking him to school so that he still gets to experience it while I get the peace of mind that he is safe.

Healthy, Wealthy and Wise

I go to the gym about 4 or 5 times a week. When some people hear this, they exclaim that I am thin enough and I don't need to exercise. However this is not (and should not) be the reason why I exercise. I'm into working out because I want, stamina, strength and happiness. Yes, it really is true that exercise makes a person happier.

I also watch my diet and count calories. I admit, in the days before Aaron, this would have been as much to stay healthy as well as keep any excess weight off my hips. Now, I'm counting calories to make sure I have ENOUGH! Breastfeeding burns up to 500 additional calories per day and with this all day sauna I live in, I really need to keep up the calories.

This Calorie Calculator is one of the easiest I've come across. The Magnetic Diet website actually has the entire book online for anyone to read completely free. There is also some interesting reading there on how to control cravings. While I am trying to maintain my weight, this looks like a good place to visit if you're trying to take some weight off.

Here is the press release:

Calorie calculators are an easy way help you determine how much food you can eat when you want to manage your weight. The calorie calculator at www.magnetic-diet.com is one of the most accurate on the internet. The Magnetic Diet is an amazing new book by diet and meditation guru Nick Smith. In it he describes an original nutritional concept that he calls Food Magnetism. Smith says that food magnetism is the way and the means by which we can lose weight and achieve an incredible level of health and well being. The Magnetic Diet details techniques to overcome cravings through special breathing exercises and a unique approach to improving muscle tone that does not require a gym membership. Smith also shares a simple meditation practice that anyone can do and in his words "has the potential beyond anything else you could ever do, to bring an unimaginable and everlasting joy to your life." Smith has done what few authors would ever think to do, he has made the book available on-line completely free of charge. He says it is more important for people especially young people to have access to this knowledge than it is for him to make a profit. You can of course order the book from his website and read it in comfort on your couch as opposed to page by page sitting at the computer.

Friday, June 22, 2007

I'll be moving to PA-ris

My friend, MR LB, made a very interesting prediction today that I will one day live in PA-ris.

He extrapolated this from the previous cities I have lived in:
PA-lor - cantonese for Ipoh
PA-sang - cantonese for Klang
PA-lembang - well...thats now.
PA-ris - oui! oui!

Shoes, and now, Bags....

I guess for most women, the obsession with Shoes and Bags would have started at the same time. I've never been a bag person but recently....I've started to convert. And today, I think I've decided that I like bags after all. This doesn't mean that I have hundreds of them or that I crave to own hundreds....I just like looking at them for now. I am on the lookout for a good bag to double as a 'diaper bag' though....I overloaded the nice one I had and now its off to the 'hospital'.

Shoes, I have always liked accumulating. Not designer shoes though because I'm not wealthy enough to splurge like that. Just comfortable, cute shoes. My last count was 43 pairs. I had to go get a heap of dessicant bags to put in each box because of the humidity in Ipoh.

I'd like to own this pair but I wonder if its advisable now that I have Aaron. Well...I won't be able to get them here anyway. They are Zigi NY Brianna

Summer Camps

During my childhood, Summer Camps, were just something from the movies. I never attended any camps but I had watched many movies on the antics of children in various summer camps (obviously the original Parent Trap was a favourite). I LONGED to join one of those programs but my parents preferred family holidays instead. In hindsight, I think I like that better too.

Now that I have a kid, I'll probably go for a mixture of familiy holidays as well as camps for Aaron. I think its a good thing for children to experience. These days there are camps for outdoorsy type activities as well as for a more academic focus.

For those parents who would like to integrate learning with fun over the summer, SCORE! Learning offers various summer programs for overall study skills in math, language arts, science and reading as well as a specific writing camp as well.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

My First Love Thursday Too

I just read this post on my sister in law's blog on on Love Thursday. She chose Parental Love this week and has a photo of my father and my brother wrestling....so to tie in with that, here is a photo of my father with my son. I think he let Aaron win though. He looks beat!

Hey Pa, You're the best father and grandfather anybody could ask for.

Aaron's Can Do List

We have just got back from 2 weeks in Ipoh and I really feel that Aaron
has matured tenfold during the time there. I can almost see the thought
processes going on in his head as he makes decisions on which way to
go, which toy to play with or whether he should accept what he's being offered. Its also really obvious in the way he gets mad at people or shows his affection.

Here are some of the more obvious 'developments' that have come about these two weeks.
1) Point with his left hand.
2) Waves when you say 'Bye Bye'. Its usually his right hand but sometimes its his left or both together.
3) Pushes up from his slithering position to a sitting position.
4) Pull up from the sitting position to a standing position.
5) Moves his feet along, although I wouldn't call it walking yet, if given some sort of supporting frame.
6) Looks at objects or people that are named. He actually turned his head and pointed at me when asked 'Where is mama?'
7) Understands basic commands such as come here, bring the book, be gentle....
8) Will immediately drop anything he's playing with if you say 'Gai Gai'. Thats cantonese for 'going out'.
9) Attempts to leave the room on this own when he wakes up from a nap. I always leave the door slightly ajar so I can hear him.
10) Started reading InStyle magazine!!! We flip through the same magazine a gazillion times a day.

My baby will always be my little baby but I think I'll have to start dealing with him growing up now....Soon, he'll be leaving me to go to work..or worse still, go on a date!

10 month old trampled by AirAsia Stampede

No, it hasn't happened yet but this is a headline waiting to be printed.

AirAsia is a hugely successful low cost carrier started by Tony Fernandes. Perhaps he was inspired by his former boss, Richard Branson but whatever the case, Mr Fernandes needs to re-look the ways he tries to increase revenue just to remain low cost.

His latest, supposedly entrepreneurial, move is to introduce 'Express Boarding' for a fee of RM20. My hypothesis is that this is to deal with the numerous complaints he has received regarding the mad stampede at the boarding gates of Kuala Lumpur's LCCT. AirAsia does not provide allocated seating, as such, passengers make a mad dash for the boarding line when the announcer lifts the mike, even BEFORE the announcement for boarding is even made. Previously, senior citizens and families with young children were allowed to board from a separate lane. That seems pretty normal right? EVERY OTHER AIRLINE in the WORLD does this. So, is AIR ASIA trying to stand out from the crowd by introducing the Express Boarding and leaving the old, infirmed and BABIES to deal with the mad stampede? No more separate boarding for the senior citizens and babies!!

So, how did I deal with this yesterday, on my flight home. I had to opt for boarding the plane LAST! If I were to line up, we would either have been stampeded and trampled, or I would have had to deal with people pressing up against my behind (yes it happens), or Aaron would have to be exposed to all the germ filled exhalations of the other passengers.

Tony Fernandes, please do something about this! Go the way of allocated seating and prioritise boarding for the old, the very young and the infirmed. I am not the only one with complaints. Check out this link.

I particularly like this post by THAILIBAN:
"by the way, there are rumours you can even book the permission to be the first passenger to use the toilet on board (when its still clean) in the future..... 100 Baht, what a lovely bargain for a safe p*e or a decent sh*t"

Gardening, Me?

Well, it does look like I'm becoming a gardening sort of person as I grow older. I'm not yet at the stage of digging my bare hands through worm riddled earth though! I'm moving through the stages slowly...hahahah....

Since moving to Palembang, I've cleaned up the garden here and have really tried to plan out a garden that suits the space and have even tried to take into account where the sun shines at each time of the day. For now, I just give instructions though...no hands on yet. Well, my hands on go as far as browsing the internet for gardening tips and looking at gardening products.Lucky me!

We have Japanese roses lining the front of our house. Then, due to the poor earth that we have, our plants now are mostly, spiky and cactus-like. We have our Ladies Fingers growing well even after several harvests but the Four Angle Beans are still creeping along with no fruit yet.

It looks like we are transitioning from the wet season to the really dry season so perhaps some Rain Gauges would be interesting to install.

I also like these sunflowers I saw on the www.onlinediscountmart.com. I have the perfect shady corner for it. NOTHING can grow there.

Do we have to leave?

Soon we'll be back in Palembang. Apart from seeing Richard again I'm really not looking forward to it. I guess I'll have to face it and just deal with the heat and boredom. Once I accept situations, I usually find that they are much more tolerable and I become more creative in dealing with it. But still....I hate to live Ipoh.

Most Wanted

I'm all about watching DVDs these days. I have never really liked going to the movies. As in, going to the cinema and sitting down in a dark enclosed area with a bunch of strangers. Apart from feeling uncomfortable on those furry germ filled seats, I also always worry about things like being trapped in a fire in the cinema. Reno 911! Miami The Movie looks like a funny movie that I'd like to get my hands on.

The movie is about a bunch of mismatched Reno cops that are called on to foil a terrorist attack at a national police convention. The cast are actually from Comedy Central and had regularly spoofed the reality series COPS. This will no doubt bring back memories of watching the Police Academy series.

I was looking at the games at the top right hand corner of the dvd website chose to play the 'Most Wanted' game first because of all the funny captions. These are my favourite two.




I went through the other 3 games too for the fun of it. Not exactly GAMES but good for a few clicks here and there. The other games were Calling All Units, Midnight Shootout and PSA.

Go to the DVD Website to take a look at some of the videos. Its hilarious! This is they type of funny, colourful, look good/feel good needed for breaking the boredom of a SAHM.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Is a quiet baby a good baby?

Yup. Definitely. So is the baby that sleeps through the night, has long daytime naps, feeds on schedule, falls asleep unassisted and is content to play alone quietly in a confined area.

So, what do you call a baby who needs help falling asleep, nurses at least once in the night, tries to catch the attention of ANYBODY by calling out loudly and refuses to be confined to a single play area?

A High Need Baby.

This is the term coined by Dr William Sears to describe a set of babies who are much more challenging to parents. They are extremely alert, intense, sensitive and basically demanding in every sense. In a nutshell, they know what they want and they will do whatever it takes to get it. In an adult, this trait would be called 'determination', but these poor babies are sometimes labelled 'spoilt'. 'Thank You', Dr Sears, for giving us the alternative description of 'High Need'. If you feel the urge to scoff at this term, please visit the Dr Sears Website for further details and descriptions.

So back to my original question/answer. Yes, a quiet baby is a good baby. But my extremely rambunctious little Aaron is a Super Alert and FABULOUS BABY. All parents of high need babies out there will understand why I need this little boast about my child. You definitely need thick skin to parent one of these babies :)

Here he is trying to escape his afternoon nap.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Don't blog while on the job

Latest news released by CIA officials regarding Michael Weston have confirmed that they have indeed dismissed the CIA operative after he allegedly broadcast a video of himself that was intercepted by the targets he was doing surveillance on. For the past 20 months, Mr Weston has been working undercover in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to collect intelligence on an emerging group of cyber terrorists that operate out of various hotspots in the city.

The group, known only by the codename CyberNinjas have been launching small but frequent attacts over the internet and could possibly be linked to the latest attacks in Estonia. No leader to this group has been identified and it is still uncertain if they operate purely as individuals or as a team. All that is known is that the attacks are always originated from public hotspots.

Former CIA operative Michael Weston was assigned to collect intelligence on the CyberNinjas in 2005. As this has involved many hours of sipping coffee or munching on a burger while pretending to be surfing the web, Mr Weston is reported to have taken on blogging. Although his blog, now taken of the internet, did not describe the nature of his work or his current assignment, it ultimately led to his dismissal. Sometime in May, Mr Weston posted a particularly funny video of himself attempting to throw a Roti Canai. This was viewed by numerous people around the world, including a CyberNinja who then recognised him at a local hotspot. This drew too much attention to himself and as his laptop was not secure enough, the CyberNinja was able to snoop around enough to become suspicious of him.

All activities of the group now originate from unknown locations while the attacks in cyber space have been stepped up. The CIA reportedly notified Michael Weston of his termination by placing a comment on his blog.

For the true story on Michael Weston, please watch USA Network's Burn Notice starting 28 June on the USA Network.


Monday, June 18, 2007

Our Prince


Look at the doting grandfather!

Innovative Tutoring

These days, it seems inevitable that a child will receive some form of acedemic tutoring or other. My view is that learning itself is a learnt skill. And, how we learn to learn will affect the way we study for the rest of our lives. So, if I can help make all of Aaron's learning experiences FUN, it will help him learn in the long run.

SCORE! Educational Learning centers offer services for children ages 4-14. It is the pre-kindergarten program that has me interested. Not so much for academic advancement (although it will help) but more to develop a positive attitude toward learning. It may be good for Aaron to have some Innovative Tutor from outside the home to re-inforce whatever we teach him at home.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

15 August

This is the Lunar Calendar date for the Chinese Mooncake festival. Sometimes, it is also known as the Mid-Autumn Festival. It is believed that on this day, the moon is the biggest, roundest and brightest!

I came across a much funnier meaning today though. We were at Ming Court (famous breakfast venue in Ipoh) for Dim Sum when one of the waitresses said to me "You'd better sit further back in case somebody accidentally kicks your chair. It will give your 15 August a good bump" HUH?? What was she talking about???

My BEHIND! Bum. Butt. Backside. Derriere. Rear-End. Now you can add '15 August' to it. If you want to say it in Cantonese, "Bat Yuet Sap Mm"

By the way, here is the Latin way to say '15 August': 'Nates'.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

I guess its time for 'THE GAME'


Over twenty years ago, I introduced THE GAME to my younger brother. It was a great game and he loved it. The only equipment required for the game was a torch. It involved me turning the torch on, pointing it somewhere on the wall in our room and asking my brother to go catch the light. Of course, when he got there, I would either switch the torch off or move it to the other wall. The funny little guy would just laugh and go after it over and over agian. He was soooo obliging back then.

I have made an improvement to the game now. We play it in the day time and now the target is a shadow. I've been playing this with Aaron. Making shapes with my hands that move around, then disappear...then appear again. It simple and HILARIOUS. We must have gone back and forth on this for close to 15 mins. He'll be my obliging little guy for awhile.....

Friday, June 15, 2007

Where should I pretend to live?

Unless its a lazing holiday, like our recent one to Bali, I like to immerse myself in the everyday activities of the places I'm holidaying at. This has been a habit with my family ever since we were kids. Go to a place, walk all the back streets, shop at the local food markets....there has even been a few times where my father has managed to get us invitations to dinner at some of the local homes.

Now, there is another way I can sample the local lifestyle - Vacation Rentals. This site includes vacation rentals from the US, Mexico, the Carribean and Canada. It makes for some good browsing and day dreaming. I was taking a look at the Florida vacation rentals and came across this house near Disney World. That would really be a long lost dream come true for me. I've been wanting to go there since....forever. Its childish but I'm still reminding my 85 yr old grandmother that she had promised to take me there when I was around 9 yrs old.

Now I wonder what the local lifestyle of Disney folk will be like. I'd like to join Mickey on the black and white steam boat!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

My Own Home

Get married, buy a house, have some kids. Thats how a lot of people envision life. For us, it was buy a house, get married, sell the house, have a kid. I don't place a whole lot of importance on owning my own home but after renting for the past 4 years, I'm starting to miss 'making a place my own'. Anyways, all this talk about house and home came up because of a few friends looking into refinancing and asking me how I did it previously.

Back in the old days, it was about physically visiting various banks and having them work out the details of how much we would save on interest. Now, it is just another example of something you can do online. The advantages of investigating online also means you have more time to read up on the facts and digest the information.

You can also apply for home equity loans online. Take a look at the calculators if you're currently considering a loan or refinancing.

Blogger teamwork

Although I have been blogging for awhile, I had not actively participated or even looked around the blogging world until recently. Now, I browse other blogs whenever I have a free moment and I even read through SEO sites. Then, today, I found out that bloggers even help each other out with improving their blog's page rank. Visibility to this blog, Key West or Bust was rocketed by other bloggers. Now, this author has a new blog, eternal flux, which is just starting up and I would like to help create visibility for it here. Go check out the memes! Hopefully what goes around comes around because I need help with this blog too :)

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

My breakfast!


For those who know me, you'll know that I definitely don't have a sweet tooth. I don't like chocolates, cakes or desserts in general. No sweets for me except for CARAMEL CUSTARDS! I love them so much I had one for breakfast this morning. I don't want the fancy, after dinner treats that you get in restaurants. I like the ones from the kopitiam! A kopitian is what we call coffee shops here in Malaysia. And, coffee shops here are not of the Starbucks variety and don't necessarily specialise in coffee. They are usually simple, non air conditioned shops where there are several stalls selling noodles or sometimes economy rice.

Here is the characteristic green and yellow sign for my custard. You can have a peek of a coffee shop at the side of the photo.

Baby Veggies

I know about baby corn and baby carrots. But this is the first time I've seen baby CUCUMBERS. They're extremely refreshing in this hot climate.


We got this batch from my neighbor over here in Ipoh.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Coupons for shopping online!

If you haven't noticed, I live in Palembang, Indonesia. There is NOTHING for me to read here, EVERYTHING is in Bahasa Indonesia. I'm no longer moaning about this though because of buying books online. AND, I just found out that I can even get some online coupons for places like amazon.com.

Actually, CouponChief.com provides coupons from a whole range of vendors to pick from. The other section I've been eyeing is the baby, kids & toys but I'm still a little reluctant to buy playthings for Aaron as he only explores them for a couple of minutes. I'll stick to making him his toys for now.

Just as well online shopping works well here and so far, all my 'packages' have arrived safely in a timely manner. This really surprised me as I was expecting the same service as POS MALAYSIA.

Inside a Chinese Man's Office


This office belongs to a chinese man, hence the title. He's my father and I know its not a 'CHINAMAN'S' office. Along with all the other photos of Old Ipoh, I have to include this 60 year old office. It is an accounting/auditing firm started by my grandfather, Datuk Lim Siang Guan. Many of the clients today are from my grandfather's time (2nd generation of course). The office is still very much 'PAPER' as you can see from all the files lining the walls and barricading their desks. They have moved with the times though and there is a soft copy for everything and they do weekly backups of the data. PHEW!

Sadly, there are currently still no accountants in my generation and I only have one cousin left who has yet make a career choice.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Ipoh

I love being in Ipoh (pronounced eepoh). Once the tin mining capital of the world, it is now a peaceful city with great food, my parents and my grandparents. Food and family, no wonder this place always feels like home.

Many teenagers here can't wait to get out of this city because its 'small' and without 'good' job prospects. Most will leave and settle somewhere else, perhaps Kuala Lumpur or Singapore. I wonder if they miss the place as I do. I hope they do....I really do get offended when I hear people saying that its a dead city and that its boring.

There are so many places here that still transport you back several decades. While I had always known and observed these places, I haven't really taken an active part in finding out more about them until now. Blogging really has triggered me to look at things differently. I just need to be more hardworking in writing about what I see....another day :). For now, take a look at this old printing shop.


See the traditional chinese signboard.



This shop is no longer running full steam but they still do some ads here and there on their old machinery. This old man wasn't very forthcoming with the details of what he does so I'm afraid I can't elaborate further on these two pictures.

Sunny days and bikes

A couple of weeks ago, I posted a meme where I said my perfect day was one on a sunny beach. Riding by the beach is definitely one of the things I enjoy. Actually, our family has been really into biking since a biking adventure in Dali, China...but thats another story.

Take a look at the beach cruisers on this site. This blue one is my favourite. I don't need those fancy ones with all the gears since I only ever use one. And, at $115, you don't have to worry about parking it outside while you drop for some ice cream. There is some additional information on the blog such as an additional $5 off with Google checkout.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

If You Could Only...You Would...

Life always has it's ups and downs and is sometimes disappointing, but on we dream and wish, "if I could only"..~Toni ©~

1. If you could only choose any place on earth to live..you would?:
Somewhere that snows at least part of the year. I have never been there but I have always liked the sound of Colorado Springs. Don't ask me why! Its just a daydream...

2. If you could only buy anything you ever wanted..you would:
A Steinway Grand Piano

3. If you could only do whatever your heart desires..you would?:
I think I am already doing what my heart desires...

4. If you could only write a great novel about (any genre)...you would:
It would probably be on my mother's childhood in 1950s Malaysia. Her dad was an assistant mining inspector and was tranferred from town to town. When she started primary school, she was sent to live with a lady that she hardly knew.

This was from Saturday Specials

When was the last time you backed up your files?

These days I don't have much 'important documents' to back up but I have plenty of PRECIOUS BABY PHOTOS/VIDEOS to keep safe. Still, I always seem to procrastinate getting the CDs out and burning CDs of Aaron's photos. I came across an easier way today. And possibly safer too since CDs could possibly get destroyed in a fire just as easily as my laptop. Yeah yeah...I know that backing up is usually to safeguard against your PC crashing but there are plenty of other ways for you to lose data.

I had not heard about this previously but there is such a thing as Online Backup. Take Drive-E for example. They offer encrypted online backups for free (up to 2GB) and Unlimited storage (for $4.95/month). I'd definitely find it more convenient to backup online.


2.6 kgs!

In our society today, weight gain issues are usually thought to belong to young (and not-so-young) girls. AND, for them, the aim is for no weight gain.

For babies, weight gain is something to be proud of. And, as a breastfeeding mother, Aaron and I have come under criticism MANY times for his lean look. "You don't have enough milk" "Your milk is not good enough" I even had a doctor recommend I start him on ABM (artificial baby milk or Formula).

Just as well I am stubborn and thick skinned (or maybe deaf). I have been, and am, determined to prove that Aaron will thrive on my breastmilk alone. Aaron is due for a checkup and I had already started to think of my responses to further suggestions of ABM. Not anymore!

Aaron has gained 2.6kgs in the past 4 months. This is 0.9kgs MORE than the average weight gain required for this time.

I'll leave Aaron to give this look to the doctor at any suggestions of ABM.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Master Glass Cutter



Here is another scene from the past. This old glass cutter has lived and traded from his shophouse for the past 40 years. He's going to be 80 this year! I guess he'll never really retire since he LIVES on the top floor of his shop. He'll just stay open for as long as he lives in this place.

The sifu (master) still uses the traditional tools (perhaps from 40 years ago??) where a fine balance is required to actually make a cut on glass. Take a look at all his tools.

Back to the Future


Ipoh must be one of the last cities in Malaysia where people still ride their bikes out to the closest payphone. This lady is actually on her 2nd phone call. I wonder how much change she brought along with her....

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Passengers Only

The Sultan Mahmud Baharuddin Airport in Palembang is different from all the other airports I have been to. Yes of course it looks different but there is something ELSE.

Its 'Passengers Only' from the drop off point at the Departure Area. Only passengers are allowed into the terminal. Normally this only happens at the immigration gates but in Palembang the area in front of the doors into the terminal is where you say your 'Goodbyes'. This makes in REALLY BORING inside. Try entertaining a 10 month old for 90mins in a small airport, with few shops and NO smoke free zones. We got settled in one corner to have lunch, and somebody lit up. Packed everything up and moved to another little corner, somebody else lights up. Sheesh! Don't they know it KILLS?

Hang on....I think this might have been the case in Bali as well. Perhaps its not different from ALL the other airports. Perhaps this is how it is in Indonesia. I'll have to go to Jakarta one of these days to check it out.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Space, The Final Frontier

I'm a TREKKIE and proud of it. All those, galaxies, solar systems, NEBULAS (my favourite word)....stars basically. A long time ago, I tried playing around with a telescope but it was just too cumbersome to firstly FIND a star, then focus and then refer back to a book to remind myself just what this distant light was about.

My interests have been re-ignited since coming across Meade My Sky Personal Video Planetarium at OpticsPlanet.com. Its is an interactive, multi-media, hand-held guide to the universe. Similar to the Celestron Skyscout, the Meade Mysky offers a full color LCD screen and computerized capability to control the telescopes.

Shopping online is fantastic for finding dream gifts for others (and myself). My brother would love this site...plenty of other gadgets there like binoculars, night vision and thermal imaging. It may seem that this is a guy oriented site but trust me, many of your female friends will love these gifs too. Look under the Unique Gift Guide.

ENGAGE!

Pusing!

"Pusing" in Indonesian means headache. In Malay it means to turn around.

Anyway, I have a headache from all my excitement. We're going back to Ipoh for a few days today and all the adrenalin about the trip must be pooling in my head! Perhaps I might go for a drive to Pusing. That word is ALSO the name of a small town near Ipoh.

Waking up to PayPerPost Direct

I used to say that Online Trading was the first job that made me look forward to waking up every morning. That was true (and still is). But it now has a competitor - BLOGGING! I love it and luckily the ASX only opens at 7am (WIB) and I am up by 5am. That gives me 2 whole hours for blogs. Now, with PayPerPost Direct. there is even more incentive for my 5 am wake up.

With PPP Direct, advertisers can bypass the middle man and approach the blogger (me!) directly. I can even negotiate the price! There is only a 10% service charged by PPP direct. The competition, is charging as much as 50-100% markup and keep as much as half the money. Now do you see why I say waking up to make money this way is exciting?

I'm a bit of a worry wart at times but PPP Direct is secure. The advertisers don't see my email address so that will take care of unwanted emails and spam. No need to worry about the monetary transaction as it will be taken care so there is no haggling over whether the post is posted or the money transferred first. Its a win-win.

Payperpost really offers so much, blog ads, a chance to make money on your own blog and now a direct link to advertisers.

So for other people with flexible work schedules like me (ha! ha!). Check out PPP Direct.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Nappy Free Babies!

I was chatting with a neighbor and her 6 month old daughter last week when suddenly the mother jumped back and lifted her baby out in front of her body. The baby was peeing! A big pee too by the looks of things. So I pointed to Aaron's terry towelling nappy and said 'She doesn't wear nappies?' Apparently not.

So far I haven't been able to find out WHY they don't wear any but they really don't. We meet many of the neighborhood babies when we go for our morning or evening walks and after last week, I've noticed that none of them are in nappies. I'm still asking the parents 'WHY?' but the most consistent answer I receive is that they will do it when the child is older. This doesn't make sense to me....isn't 'older' when you toilet train the child?

I have heard that there are cultures where toilet training begins in infancy but, I don't think thats the case here.

Its just a mystery at the moment but I'll keep you posted on my findings.

Playstation



The majority of kids here may be poor but it doesn't mean they can't be gamers! This photo was taken at about 10am in the morning so most kids are at school. I have driven past the same shop in the afternoon and it is PACKED.

Monday, June 4, 2007

64AD, Emperor Nero, HOT DOGS

I love hot dogs! Don't get to eat them much over here in Palembang but my mother reminded me of them yesterday by saying she was going to Bunnings. This is a hardward store chain in Australia that has hot dogs cooking near the entrance. I really think its a bad gimmick because it makes me want to leave the store quicker just so I can get back to that aromatic area and munch on my HOT DOG!

Anyways I did some research (read: googling) on the humble hot dog and it turns out the first Hot Dog Sausage was discovered by Emperor Nero in 64 AD. This makes it 1 thousand, 9 hundred and 43 years old!!!! IMAGINE THAT!

OK, so where did the bun come from? This came about in the 1880s when a german sausage peddler found that his sausages were too hot for customers to hold and he was losing money supplying them with a glove. It was his more practical and astute wife who suggested the split bun.

So there you have it. The (very) summarised history of the hot dog.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Politically Correct

Was wondering about this as I was putting Aaron to sleep....

There are several references to the 'Chinaman Company' on this blog. Its a common enough word amongst chinese Malaysian and Singaporeans but it occured to me that it could come across as racist to other people in this world. I'm chinese so obviously I'm not using it in the racist way but I can't think of what the term is for this type of company.

Does anybody know the politically correct term? I've turned the comments back on so let me know.

Aaron eats toast

I love watching him eat. He LOVES eating. He eats anything and everything. Up until now, most of his food have been mashed up so this is the first time he is eating something that is hard.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Guest Writer - My husband

He doesn't have time to maintain his own blog so he wanted to borrow mine. Lets see what he has to say....

***********************************************************************
I have always wondered how to have balanced work/life? Large western style corporations urge employees to have a balanced work/life but I really wonder how many achieve it. I hear most of them are slogging it out at home on their laptops! Well I don't work in on of those corporations and instead spend my days in a sweatshop...I mean Chinaman Company.

Since Aaron was born 10 months ago, my life changed....I have to play 3 different roles, that is being a husband and father at home and a manager at work. Life became more complicated after I accepted a job offer to work in Palembang, Indonesia.

Managing people of a different culture. Learning to nurture a high need baby. Helping my wife adjust to life as a new mom here.

No doubt life is full of stress but 3x the stress might have caused more greys on my head. On top of all that, those Chinamen equate a good employee with one who lives at the workplace. But....we don't give a heck about them ;)

After 5 months of adjustments to parenthood and the new environment, the baby is now giving us blocks of 3hr stretches at night and I've adjusted to the Indonesian work culture. Although working in Indonesia still takes up more than 50 hours a week, I have managed to throw in 2 to 3 hours of workout a week in the gym and at least 6 hours of SLINGING Aaron time for walks around the neighborhood.

GEEZ! I never realised how good it was to vent on a blog!

How does your baby greet you?

Aaron is still not talking yet so he doesn't yell out 'Mama'. Instead, he licks his lips, waves his arms around and then sticks two fingers in his mouth. I'm really starting to think that latching on is his way of saying 'Hi'. He's not really feeding, and is only on for maybe 30 seconds to a minute and he's off again. It seems to happen after his morning walk, evening walk, when I get out of the gym, when he comes out of his room and sees me....the list goes on. Strange...yet adorable.

Picture Perfect

A picture perfect day is:

A sunny day by the beach.

A picture perfect dinner is:

Any dinner with my whole family. Unfortunately Richard is missing from this photo.

A picture perfect evening is:

Sunset at Noosaville, Queensland, Australia.

A picture perfect vacation is:

My last one in Bali.

I got this meme from The Saturday Special.

Meme

This is my new word of the day. When I initially came across it, I thought it read MI MI. Its actually pronounced like the 'mem' from memory or supposedly sometimes it rhymes with dream.

Its original meaning is something along the lines of 'chinese whispers' where one person's post on their blog is written about by somebody else and then again but yet another person. Get it?

Now, there are websites out there that create daily, weekly or monthly questions/ideas/topics (called the memes) and post them for other people to go write about. Sometimes it is suggested that you get several of your friends to write about the same meme. And then, each of them goes and gets several other people. ETC ETC ETC

The Daily Meme
is an interesting place to start. I think I'll give it a go one of these days.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Does your local mall get this crowded?


This is PTC mall on the first sunday of ANY month. Most people have just received their salaries.

Population of the places where I've lived:
Indonesia : 222,781,500 (density 117 per square kilometer)
Malaysia : 25,347,370 (density 77 per square kilometer)
Australia : 20,155,130 (density 2.6 per square kilometer)

3 things to balance me out

When I stopped working (in an office) in 2004, I found that after the initial novelty of lazing around wore off, I didn't feel so happy about being a bum anymore. This must be how some retirees feel. Anyway, I eventually worked out that I should always strive to have these 3 aspects in my life:

1) Income Generation. I do this with my amateur online trading. This is more for my ego rather than my tummy. Plus its interesting and is linked to aspect #2.

2) Developing Skills. So, the trading skills are a given. I have to develop them in order to generate that income. However, there needs to be more and they don't necessarilly have to be serious skills either. Cello and Tap Dancing are out of the question here in Palembang so I'll need to find something new. I have been comtemplating my Pool skills.

3) Giving Back. Charity work? Yes, I'll get into that when I find some organisation I can get involved in. Giving back also includes teaching. Like teaching all my neighbors the piano back in Klang. Although, I'm not sure I want to get into that now with Aaron around. Will need to figure this one out.

Anyway, people balance their lives in different ways. This is just how I compartmentalise mine.