Tuesday, March 30, 2010

cameron highlands: bala's chalet

To celebrate our 1st year anniversary (and the finale of Housemanship) we went to Cameron Highlands for a weekend getaway. I crazy love weekend getaways, don’t you?

We decided to go to Cameron Highlands ‘cos Ah Mut was going on and on and on about the mind-cleansing properties of the fabulous tea plantation view and the crisp morning fresh air tinged with strawberry dew. Wooot! I mean when somebody throws such adjectives at you, you can’t help but be so curious as to how marvelous it can truly be.

One thing though, I seriously cannot tahan the drive up to Cameron’s. The Tapah route is briefer but the winding roads drove my semi-circular canal into a frenzy. I was nauseous all the way to Ringlet and was swallowing gastric juices by the time we hit Tanah Rata. After that it was quite a relief. We went over to our lodging to check in.

I chose to stay in the very historical Bala’s Chalet.

Bala’s Chalet started out as a boarding school in 1934 for expatriate children during the pre-war colonial times. Read more of Bala's Chalet history here.

(conversation)Guy: I’ve never been to England but I feel like this could be England.
moi: I’ve stayed in England and I’m telling you this is could bloody well be England in summer!

As I approach the reception I’m suddenly enthusiastic.. what with the Tudor design and all. I look around the porch and see beautiful bright-coloured flowers basking in the glorious mesh of sunshine and cool breeze. I was not allowed to photograph the interiors of the reception… perhaps they were afraid of notorious facsimiles… but it is definitely very pleasant inside as it is outside.

We get the keys to our room and initiate the steep climb up to Raffles Suite. Our suite was called Warwick and the entire row of lodging was just absolutely enchanting!

Let me take you on a mini-tour inside…

The theme colour is lavender which explains the wall and bedspread. You’ve got your tea-making corner and antique table lamps.

The regal armchair and wooden coffee table.

The basic shower and sink. The showers doesn’t get too hot in Cameron’s. I bathed in chatters.

There is an intriguing staircase that leads up to the loft. Oooh how I love lofts!! It’s just so English to have lofts y’know.

I adored the daybed! I’m sure you know my passion for daybeds here and here. As I was reading a book up there, I looked up at the ceiling.. closed my eyes.. and dreamt Enid Blyton dreams.

There is a window at the loft that opens out to the front..

You can see the little courtyard from here. C’est bonne, non?

Perfect for some morning or evening tea!

Thumbs up:
- Tudor cottage architecture
- English countryside decor and ambience
- scones at Jim Thompson's Tea Room: lovely!

Thumbs down:
- there aren't as many road signs as I imagined (the entrance is situated in the middle of a road turn so if you’re going a little quickly, you could actually miss it and it’s quite a b*tch to make a U-turn)
- the staff weren’t super friendly as I would like them to be (firstly the old guy at the desk was quite abit frosty and seemed irritable when we got a small discount - ‘cos I know a person who knows the owner of the place- on the rate)
- it gets really really quiet at night which makes it a little uncomfortable if we wanna play catching in the room (yes, my husband and I enjoy a game of catching. It’s innocuous delight :) Perhaps I’m just too used to the sound of a buzzing air-conditioner. Guess I’m no jungle Jane) 
- the bed is really squeaky (refer above)
- the ‘no photography’ over at the reception area

Despite (the thumbs down), I would still highly recommend this chalet for it’s amazing ambience… just a lil’ Malaysian English countryside delight!!

Bala's Holiday Chalet
Lot 55, Tanah Rata, 39000 Cameron Highlands
Pahang, Malaysia
Tel: +605 4911660

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored review. The views expressed in this blog are based on the blogger's personal opinions, thoughts and impressions. The material on this blog may not be used, reprinted, or published without the blogger's consent. Merci!

Monday, March 29, 2010

the big move

This week marks the first week that I’ve been back in KL.

How has it been different?

Frankly I haven’t had the time to fully utilize my existence in the city what with the process of moving, getting my house prepped and sorting out my career. Perhaps in a fortnight when I’ve cleared my accommodation and settled into my new job, I could give a better perspective of change I’m going through. There are afew that I’ve noted so far…

… in the morning when I’m driving to work, I’m no longer tailing leisure small-town / old folk drivers driving their grandchildren to school and attempting to overtake swiftly. You see if you see cars whizzing by in the wee hours along Jalan Changkat Jong in TI, they’re usually houseman rushing to work. It’s all ‘cos we’re usually deadbeat tired and trying to maximize time sleep time by waking up as near punch-card time as possible and then sprint like it’s our last 7 minutes and 27 seconds alive to the hospital. Over here it’s another scene altogether ‘cos everyone’s on F1 mode racing each other to work. I literally go “Whoah buddy!” especially as I hit the toll. Also it’s surreal to drive by the Twin Towers as they wave to me in the morning sun. I’ve dreamt of the day I go by the gargantuan pair of which I deem to be absolutely urbanite and here I am doing it daily. I know a lot of you city-slickers take it for granted but this really puts a smile on my face. It’s a real hallmark of working / liking in the city. Glee!

… I don’t have to make a monthly list of all the sh*t I’ve gotta do to get things settle. Now I can get it done immediately that day.. stat. Like the time we fixed up our MASKROS light over at the dining and I totally forgot the energy-saving bulb, my initial response was to jot it down in my to-do-list. Creature of habit mah. But then Dddy was, like, “Go and get it now-lah so we know if it’s working.” And then it suddenly dawned upon me that I don’t have to scribble everything into a list anymore. If I wanna go to IKEA and get a bulb I can. Now that’s really overwhelming for me.

There are more. Just can’t think of it now. Wanna go check on the final parquet varnish over at my new place.

Do y’all have any country mouse / town mouse stories to share? Holler!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

they finally got hitched

This is Miss ChuaChua and Ah Yann.

You’d probably recognize them from the good-ole UK heydays and more recently their trip down here.

Miss ChuaChua and I were flatmates of infamous 305 NorthWestern Hall over at Liverpool Lime Street *giggle* She was a hippy Hongkie who always seemed to be late and I was the quirky Malaysian who was funny. Note to general people: fat people are always the funny ones… it just makes much more sense to laugh at our weight rather than explain it. Also it’s not much of a point to look hot if you’re fat ‘cos people look past your Armenian features and focus on your wobbly Buffalo wing arms / Thunder-thighs / Himalayan abdominals. It’s just how it is… we’ve learnt to suck it in (pun not intended).Not that I've got Armenian features :P I'm just saying. Oh and I say Armenian 'cos of the Kardashians.

We never really spoke at first. I learnt quite abit from her like how to make a killer fried rice (the answer lies in Nam Phra!), the joy in having an extensive Pooh beanies collection, finding hidden bohemian chic treasures in H&M (hey that place can be a bloody maze OK!!), and most of all the need for one to be independent and free. While we were bumbling through our life in Liverpool she met Yann in a course and they fell in love. I know Miss ChuaChua… she has a free spirit and is the sort you must never hold too tight or she’d seep through the holes between your fingers. But then they got a puppy and then they bought a house (of which Yann told me first). And then her world changed. Don’t tell her I said this but I personally believe the dog changed everything.

So when she called me last year just immediately after she announced on Facebook that she was getting married, I broke down in heavy sobs. She told me later I was the only idiot who cried on the phone when I got the news ‘cos even her mother didn’t. It was terribly emotional for me ‘cos I’ve watched their relationship start out as a bud into a bloom… Now they’re planning a wedding in October and Miss ChuaChua is talking ‘bout maybe having a child. I am genuinely happy for them. It was certainly a very poignant moment for us all. Definitely a very exciting year for us 305-ers.

Everyone’s getting (had gotten) married this year, don’t you think?

I’ve been getting tons of wedding cards since January, my new nurse just got married, my wedding is due in July… heck even Xiaxue got married! It must be helluva good year for hotels / restaurants, caterers, canopy rentals, wedding dress tailors, wedding planners, cake people etc… and it’s only the 1st quarter!!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

harry potter and hogwarts comes h-alive??

Universal Studios Orlando unveiled photos and concept art for "The Wizarding World of Harry Potter." That's right, a whole theme park based around the Hogwarts and all the other cool places described in J.K. Rowling's books. Plus, details about the park's signature attraction: "Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey" --> have been revealed for the first time.

The "Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey" attraction is set inside Hogwarts castle overlooking the park. Guests will enter through the main gates to explore the grounds and interior of the castle.

The attraction will feature a 360-degree immersive experience that will combine live action, robotic technology, and newly filmed footage with the cast of the "Harry Potter" movies.

Guests will journey through iconic locations straight from the films, such as the Room of Requirement. This detailed scene is where guests board the ride and are drawn into the excitement and chaos of Harry's life.

When passing through the Portrait gallery, visitors will encounter several magical talking portraits created exclusively for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, including the four Hogwarts founders.

Guests will also pass by the regal Griffin statue on their way to Dumbledore's office. Set designers and decorators from the films have worked to recreate the movies' settings to the last detail.

The first attraction, "Dragon Challenge," features a twin high-speed roller coaster with many visual elements from the Triwizard Tournament in "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire."

"Flight of the Hippogriff" is a family coaster simulating a Hippogriff training flight over the grounds of Hogwarts castle.

As guests enter Hogsmeade, they will be greeted by the smoke-billowing steam engine of the Hogwarts Express, made famous in the Harry Potter books and films for transporting students to a world of magic and wonder.

Guest will get to explore the village of Hogsmeade, home to a host of merchants taken directly from the pages of the books. You can shop for wands a Ollivander's, sweets at Honeydukes, and jokes at Zonko's.

Ollivander's wand shop is an interactive experience where the wand chooses the wizard.

With the assistance of a live actor along with special effects, Ollivander's shop guests will experience firsthand a moment from Harry Potter's life -- a wand will choose them.

The Three Broomsticks and adjacent Hog's Head pub will feature traditional British fare and drinks including Butterbeer and pumpkin juice.

Here is an early conceptual rendering of Hog's Head, located in Hogsmeade.

Across from Three Broomsticks is The Owlery, where owls roost and await their next delivery.

Honeydukes, located in Hogsmeade, is full of treats like Chocolate Frogs and Bertie Bott's Every-Flavour Beans.

Completing Hogsmeade is Dervish and Banges, the magical instruments and equipment shop featuring Quidditch equipment, Triwizard apparel, Spectrespecs and Remembralls.

Although still very much a work in progress, Hogwarts castle is beginning to take shape above Hogsmeade as work continues on The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The public grand opening is set for June 18.


P.S., disclaimer: images + text courtesy of Yahoo! Movies

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

kl... i'm baaaaack...!!

Babydolls! It’s highly imperative that I inform y’all lovely macaroons that my transfer back to KL has been approved.

The secret?

Perseverance and prayers by the wheelbarrows. Seriously.

I have been looking high and low for a titanium rod cable alas(!!) to no avail. And so I figured I was doomed to a bucolic life indefinitely… I mean Jatinangor to Teluk Intan and then Batu Gajah? There’s an obvious pattern there, non? That Sex And The City cum Lipstick Jungle cum Cashmere Mafia lifestyle possibility looked bleaker by the micro second. It was yet another round of transfer application and this time a marriage certificate was involved. Still I had no faith it could be of any help ‘cos I’ve got colleagues running to me in tears with their 36th week pregnant tums when their transfers got rejected.

For me, I didn’t believe in the NORMAL way. I believe in connection = transfer.
Guy, on the other hand, believes in the NORMAL way. He believes in application = transfer.

We had afew rows about it. We used his way anyway ‘cos it’s not as if I had any alternatives. Trying is better than doing nothing at all. Just that there’s only so much rejection you can take.

Turns out all those letters were worth something ‘cos here I am standing on the steps of Jabatan Kesihatan Wilayah Persekutuan finding for the Human Resources Department to report in for duty. I had to admit, very reluctantly, that Guy was right and that the NORMAL way was possible. I left TI in a jiffy. We took a night to pack and the next day the army 3-tonner truck came and swept all my belongings back home. Everything happened so fast. I didn’t even have time to say proper goodbyes. A lot of people said I didn’t look too thrilled but it was just mainly with respects to my other colleague who weren’t as fortunate. But deep inside, I was singing merrily like a kookaburra and doing virtual heel-clicks!! Next thing I knew I had boxes of my sh*t lying all over the new place which needed a lot of doing up. That’s it. TI suddenly seemed like a distant memory away… I don’t know if it’s because I don’t wish to remember or if I’m just plain excited with the new beyond.
I’ve never been one who’s good with change but this change I embrace. Like the clenches of a python.

I report on the 16th. Pray I get a KK (Klinik Kesihatan).

Thursday, March 04, 2010

a tired soul

I got posted to Batu Gajah.

It’s further than TI. So really, it’s further than ever.

Others got posting they despised as well. An apparent one is Grik of course. For those who travel alot they probably know it’s not the most accessible town in Malaysia. I know I should be thankful I didn’t get Grik. But Batu Gajah, to me, is equally as disastrous. Already as it is, Guy has to travel 2.5 hours every weekend just to get to me and I’m not even taking into account the fact that I work (on weekends) from 0600 in the morning ‘till noon and twice a month or more I’m oncall one of them days which, on a worst case scenario basis, literally means I only see him 12 hours per week. Yes, I’m sure many would argue that this is considered a luxury in comparison to those who only see their spouses once every few months but I don’t want to compare myself to those unfortunate people. I want to compare myself to those who see their loved ones every day and take it for granted. I want to compare myself to those who don’t need to cry every Sunday night when he packs to return to work. I don’t want to be those girls anymore.


People tell me that the first year of marriage is the most difficult hurdle. Also a long distance relationship in the first year of marriage will definitely be of utmost adversity.


It’s so grueling at work and now I have to have a grueling relationship too?

Just feel so damn tired of all this sh*t.

I’ve watched my fellow colleagues, MOs… heck specialists who can’t get their transfers heavy-heartedly trudge to work leaving their families behind and only meeting once a month. I do not wish to be them. Even if I did have the strength to do so, “hor pit-leh”?

Yes, I have applied for a transfer and yes, I’ve done it for awhile now. I get so pissed off when I tell people my posting and they ask me in a flurry if I’ve applied for a transfer. F*ck of course I bloody did!! Nothing’s happening so there’s nothing much I can do right? I’m not the Minister of Health’s daughter / niece / neighbor!

I’ve done all the tears. I’ve done the tears during the TI era. So when I see my colleagues loathe and bawl over their crappy posting now, I don’t join the waterworks ‘cos I’ve been there. I’ve done that. 3 months of it… it’s enough to dry out The Three Gorges Dam! Obtaining a sh*tty posting is not anything new to me.

Now the only way is to pray for my KL transfer to pull through. That or… *sigh* I dunno… resign? I just cannot do this sh*t anymore. I don’t think if people think it’s cowardly or weak. I don’t f*cking care. I’m tired of being thrown around like a baseball no more. Yet I’m also afraid to not earn my APC (license to practice medicine in Malaysia) if I do quit. All the 6 years of medical school down the gutter. Whoah it’s a lot to grasp all at once, isn’t it?

A new job…

I’ve not known anything else apart from Medicine. I don’t know if I can do anything else.

A new world.

Interviews, adaptation… colleagues who are NOT doctors…

I stumbled upon afew good guides that I thought might be real useful for, well, us should we ever need it:

50 Worst of the Worst (and Most Common)Job Interview Mistakes by Karen Burns:

1. Arriving late.

2. Arriving too early.

3. Lighting up a cigarette, or smelling like a cigarette.

4. Bad-mouthing your last boss.

5. Lying about your skills/experience/knowledge.

6. Wearing the wrong (for this workplace!) clothes.

7. Forgetting the name of the person you're interviewing with.

8. Wearing a ton of perfume or aftershave.

9. Wearing sunglasses.

10. Wearing a Bluetooth earpiece.

11. Failing to research the employer in advance.

12. Failing to demonstrate enthusiasm.

13. Inquiring about benefits too soon.

14. Talking about salary requirements too soon.

15. Being unable to explain how your strengths and abilities apply to the job in question.

16. Failing to make a strong case for why you are the best person for this job.

17. Forgetting to bring a copy of your resume and/or portfolio.

18. Failing to remember what you wrote on your own resume.

19. Asking too many questions.

20. Asking no questions at all.

21. Being unprepared to answer the standard questions.

22. Failing to listen carefully to what the interviewer is saying.

23. Talking more than half the time.

24. Interrupting your interviewer.

25. Neglecting to match the communication style of your interviewer.

26. Yawning.

27. Slouching.

28. Bringing along a friend, or your mother.

29. Chewing gum, tobacco, your pen, your hair.

30. Laughing, giggling, whistling, humming, lip-smacking.

31. Saying "you know," "like," "I guess," and "um."

32. Name-dropping or bragging or sounding like a know-it-all.

33. Asking to use the bathroom.

34. Being falsely or exaggeratedly modest.

35. Shaking hands too weakly, or too firmly.

36. Failing to make eye contact (or making continuous eye contact).

37. Taking a seat before your interviewer does.

38. Becoming angry or defensive.

39. Complaining that you were kept waiting.

40. Complaining about anything!

41. Speaking rudely to the receptionist.

42. Letting your nervousness show.

43. Overexplaining why you lost your last job.

44. Being too familiar and jokey.

45. Sounding desperate.

46. Checking the time.

47. Oversharing.

48. Sounding rehearsed.

49. Leaving your cell phone on.

50. Failing to ask for the job

How To Answer 10 Tricky Interview Questions by Karen Burns

1. “Tell me about yourself.”

DO: Talk about the ways that what you know and what you can do are perfectly suited to this job.
DON’T: Tell the interviewer your life story.

2. “Tell me something bad you’ve heard about our company.”

DO: You wouldn’t apply for a job at a company you disapproved of, would you? So you should be able to honestly answer that you haven’t heard anything negative about this place.
DON’T: Repeat gossip you might have heard.

3. “Why should I hire you?”

•DO: Impress your interviewer with how much you know about the company’s requirements and then describe how you are the best person to meet those requirements.
•DON’T: Get tripped up by a lack of prior research.

4. “Where do you see yourself in five years?”

DO: Talk about how your specific abilities, training, and experience will enable you to smoothly integrate with this company.
DON’T: Say that you have no idea.

5. “How would you react if I told you your interview so far was terrible?”

DO: Recognize that this is a test to see if you get flustered. Say, mildly, that you would ask for reasons why.
DON’T: Freak out. Remember, the interviewer said “if.”

6. “What’s the last book you read?”

DO: Mention a book that reflects well on you. Choose something by a reputable author that your interviewer has probably heard of.
DON’T: Name a book you haven’t actually read.

7. “Can you work under pressure?”

DO: Say that of course you can, and then relate a brief story about a time you did.
DON’T: Just say, "Yes I can." Provide a specific example.

8. “Who’s your hero?”

DO: Name a person who has inspired you and then describe specifically how this inspiration relates to your work.
DON’T: Get caught off-guard by what should really be a softball question. Come prepared with a good answer.

9. “Have you ever considered starting your own business?”

DO: Talk about how you are happiest and do your best work in a company that is amazingly similar to the one you’re applying at.
DON’T: Go on and on about how you’d love to be your own boss one day.

10. “If you won the lottery, would you still work?”

DO: Be honest and say you’d be thrilled to win the lottery; then add that even if you did you’d still seek out satisfying work, because work is what makes people happy.
DON’T: Say that you’d never work again (too honest) or that you’d just work for free (too BS-y).

Bottom line: It pays to think through in advance how you would handle some of the more common trick questions. In general, remember never to badmouth or blame others, especially past employers. Be careful not to betray your nervousness with jittery body language. Don’t lie or babble, or show frustration, impatience, disappointment, or anger.

The most important thing to remember is that hiring managers who ask these questions are far more interested in how you answer than what you answer. They just want to see how well you think on your feet. So even if a question completely flummoxes you, keep your cool, smile, and look ‘em in the eye.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

vivenne tam you're a charm

Look at that new arm candy hitting Vivienne Tam's New York Fashion Week runway for Spring 2010!!

Purse? Clutch? Gold tablet??

Oooh Vivenne Tam's 'Butterfly Lovers' HP mini 210 Edition. Flutter-by flutter-by...!
Yikes!! Beloved...

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