Friday, June 24, 2016


It was a dark stormy day in London just like the EU referendum poll which ended at 10pm tonight.

Woke up at 6.30am to the surprising result that the British People have voted to Brexit.

The people have spoken . And the people are not where the country's coffers are (London) nor the Scottish (Which hate the English) but in middle-class-middle of England. 

Friday, May 06, 2016

Stuff I read recently

Now that I've got some time on my hands, I've had some re-readings rather than new reads. I bought myself the Chronicles of Narnia and re-reading 'Message from an Unknown Chinese Mother' by Xinran.  The sun in England is finally shining after a long spell of dark, wet and gloomy days and its finally summer!

Monday, February 08, 2016

Chinese New Year 2016 - In the country of my youth

It's funny when you're approaching the middle ages that you start to feel nostalgic about your younger days. Especially when you've been away for a long time and have come home for Chinese New Year - a significant time to reunite with family and friends.

Found this especially so coming home for the holidays - the trees seem greener and Malaysians seem friendlier. The shops in the taman seem smaller and older and the Malaysian drivers seem crazier. Nevertheless it all seems very refreshing somehow.

I would have signed up for Sharon Bakar's 'Dusting off the Cobwebs' course but have to settle sweeping the cobwebs of my mind at home on this blog

 At home there are plenty of dust covered relics of my past that stir up old feelings but they aren't necessarily intense as if you're standing from a distance and looking at yourself. Like an out of body experience but from a different dimension. The strangeness is that this was 'you' and the 'you' that was 'you' is still inside 'you'. The process of forgetting and now remembering stirs up the possibility of what you could be then and could still be in the future. This is especially important because living our daily lives makes one forget that we still have potential within thus making it feel like the doldrums. I'd highly recommend going home to your childhood home to refresh and rejuvenate but of course this isn't possible without the passing of time and going through the ageing process.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Costume, mostume

Last weekend saw a very old 1982 TV movie of Ivanhoe on British TV. It has a lot of big names (who looked much younger) i.e. Sam Neill, John Rhys Davies etc. but the first thing that struck me wasn't the familiar faces but the awfully cheap costume props.

Makes you wonder whether it was technology back in the day which was lacking, or whether the costume budget was very small or maybe back in the 80s props and costumes were a secondary concern in film making. But anyway check out the plasticky crown on Lady Rowena.

 Compared to something like the Game of Thrones in this day and age

Its hard to take a story seriously when your crown looks like something out of a cereal box, even if your script is super good.

Friday, July 18, 2014


N8th March 2014- disappearance of life - 239 people
17th July 2014- Loss of life - 295 people

It has never happened in the history of the world; 2 major commercial aviation catastrophes happening in the space of less than 5 months.

The misery is that they are both Malaysia airline flights.  Because it is of high improbability, it has to be conspired rather than coincided. God knows if MAS could survive as a carrier now- I think 3 times before flying it this no matter how deep the bargain. Sad as MAS was once deemed as one of 'the best airlines' in the world. The MH370 incident guaranteed the recognition of Malaysia and where Malaysia is- at least I had no problems with people recognising the country when I tell them where I'm from. The BBC flashed the map of Malaysia and the route MH370 took for weeks when it broke the news. But with MH17, ashamedly I angst being a Malaysian and am tempted to not want to tell where I'm from at least for awhile. No fault of my country but there is so much reputation at stake when you're working to build a British airport-mind you with their obsessiveness over Health and Safety. The whiff of Malaysianness near British high security areas could dispel my career in a jiffy.

Monday, April 14, 2014

34th London Marathon 2014

The sun shone bright and the skies were pure blue in the early hours of the 13th of April. Looks like yet another promising day for the Virgin London Marathon and it was. It was also rather warm by the time the elite runners came running round Limehouse and the crowd had already gathered with cheers, claps and even some live music. It was like a great street party - the biggest happiest street party in London. Even the people living in the houses opened their windows and played party music. I could hear Queen's 'Don't Stop Me Now', Rocky's Theme and appropriate motivational songs in the air.

This year's London Marathon is a little special as it will be the last we witness it right outside our home - a little sad but bittersweet.

Ethiopia's Tirunesh Dibaba 02:20:35
Managed to catch the elite women's but missed Mo Farah and the men's as I stepped out of the street for a few minutes to feed Clara. It was an impressive line up of runners too - world record holder Wilson Kipsang, World and Olympic champion Stephen Kiprotich, defending London champion Tsegaye Kebede, and London course record holder Emmanuel Mutai, not to mention the two-times New York Marathon champion Geoffrey Mutai. The women's the line up is equally impressive with the 2012 Olympic champion Tiki Gelana, the double world champion Edna Kiplagat, and the twice Berlin champion and newly-minted world half marathon record holder Florence Kiplagat among defending champion Priscah Jeptoo’s main opponents.

This year we had different categories of paralympian runners as well which was the first I've seen in the London Marathon.  Apparently this is the 2nd time the IPC Athletics Marathon World Cup on 13 April is held as part of the 2014 Virgin Money London Marathon but I missed last year's hence why didn't realise.  In addition to the annual wheelchair race featuring T53-T54 athletes, this new event will also feature IPC Athletics classes T42-46 (leg and arm amputees) and T11-T13 (visually impaired) for both men and women and in 2014 the recent incorporation of the T51-T52(also wheelchair) event into the Marathon World Cup.

Gabrial Macchi from Portugal in the T11-T12 Category 02:40:24

The atmosphere was fantastic and I felt nostalgic about my own marathon experiences. I think I'll try again for the marathon and specifically for London as it has such great crowd support.
Ethiopians Feysa Tadese 02:21:42 and Aberu Kebede 02:23:21
This time I was on the other side of the road -unknown elite runner Paulo Roberto (BRA)
It was also Palm Sunday so Mass was pushed to the evening at 6pm. Surprisingly this year, there weren't any stragglers - 5 pm the streets were clean of people (either the unfit was surprisingly fitter this year or they were killed off by the heat). Another great event ending on the perfect note.

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Balik Kampung

It's always great to go home and the longer one has been away, the more nostalgia one feels when back home.

Arrived home with the slight burnt smell of the haze but the skies were clear. Blast of hot air upon exiting the airport into the car park - ah the good ole heat and the familiar feeling of beig home.

I've been away for almost 2 years now and it's as if I've been away for 5. New buildings and infrastructure has cropped up since I left and the roads have changed 'again'. I marvel at how quickly things get built here compared to the UK where every construction project is almost always delayed and crawling at a snail's pace.

The house looks shabbier than I imagined it - broken windows unfixed, gravelly cracked bitumen drive way, the mess in the house larger than life. Anyway it was a good feeling to be home as I've been having strange dreams in the home setting.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

On being Abroad

The only press that Malaysia gets in the UK is the negative kind....So the latest is on pigs

The last one was about veggie

A friend of mine lashed out on how she hates it when other people say Malaysia is nowadays unsafe.

Not that it's untrue but *ding* there's no smoke fire. Crime and the vicious kind has gone up. But who can blame them (those people) when all they hear are the negativities of what's happening back home.

Having lived out of the country for a few years now, I've acquired a tint in my rose-spectacled glasses towards living 'abroad' now that 'abroad' is Malaysia now. In fact Malaysia seems attractive to go back to. 

Friday, August 02, 2013

Invictus : We need a Nelson Mandela in Malaysia

Went to the library to pick up some books since I had loads of potential reading time. Nothing really caught my eye except this one, 'Invictus: Playing the Game' in the 'History' section. Was curious about apartheid and  South Africa after watching the Sugar man film (in previous post).

The author, John Carlin, is a British journalist who was 'The Independent's South Africa bureau chief based in South Africa between 1989-1995.  He writes from a narrative perspective on key events for South Africa,  Mandela and the ANC leaders interspersed with the story of the Springboks and the Rugby World Cup in 1995. A useful snapshot for one who doesn't have much knowledge on the history of South Africa and apartheid, it is an inspiring story nevertheless of Mandela's leadership during the crisis times where the  aspirations of black South Africa and the fears of white South Africa were at a head.

Then I went on to watch Clint Eastwood's interpretation of the book and that was also pretty good - it kept to most of the elements in the book. Morgan Freeman does an excellent job as a Nelson Mandela (which got him nominated for the 2009 Academy Awards and 2010 Golden Globe awards for best male lead).

Although things in South Africa are not as rosy as it may seem after the abolishment of apartheid after 20 years, this is a truly miraculous event in history where centuries of pain and selfishness had to be put aside for a much larger cause to build a nation - and it is still in the process of building. 

If only Malaysia could do the same but it feels like a long time coming . We are still very much a 'pseudo-apartheid' nation where segregation and preferential treatment based on race and religion is championed. Although historically the reasons are different, we know that we still lack the basic human principles of equality which provides fuel for racial and religious hatred for the future.

Nelson Mandela's labour for a South Africa free of apartheid took a lifetime to achieve. It meant putting aside pettiness and hatreds aside to look at the bigger picture. Not an easy task but accordingly it was simple respect which Mandela paid to all the people who were against him and it was reverberated by all who learnt from him which led him to succeed.

An example of this was during the early stages of post-apartheid where distrust was still high; a white Afrikaner leader prepared with guns  said of a black ANC leader who's home he was entering for his birthday party ' Terror Lekota saw me across the room and he came over and gave me a big hug. He must have felt my guns but he said nothing. He just kept smiling. I liked him. He was genuine. Like Mr. Mandela, a genuine man. So that's why I figured, Let's give them a chance; they deserve it'....

A potentially violent situation that was diffused by simple respect.

It seems that Malaysia has lost its bearings on what we want to achieve in nation building. Instead we are talking about sedition acts punishing facebook users and  blood-baying against dog owners - so laughable and juvenile but yet sinister in its ignorance and idiocy. All we need is a Nelson Mandela to lead the way.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Everyone needs to Search for Sugar Man

Here's a true-life tale that's a must-watch if one still believe in miracles.

Haven't watched a good docu-drama in a long time and this one was floating in the 'hmmm seems interesting , should watch if I have the time'....Ele and Steff watched it and recommended it so I finally got round to doing it and it wasn't a disappointment. 

Didn't realise it had already won the Academy Award (and multiple other awards). Nevertheless this unbelievable tale of the finding of the mysterious anti-apartheid anthem-maker in South Africa is nothing short of inspirational.  If it were true, his life after being discovered is even more so. There should be more sugar-mans on this planet (and also 'what would we do without the internet'?)

More facts if you're interested in the mystery of Sugar Man

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Summer of 2013

It's finally summer in London. Thought the day would never come and it's the end of June already.
This year weather has been extra lousy in the UK -blizzards and freeze in March,prolonged cold spells and wind up to May. I think its the longest time I've actually held on to my trench coat this year. The longest day of the year has passed now which means dwindling sunlight starts now  but at least it's started to warm up - at least due t the observations from the last few weeks :

Early afternoon at 2pm and its 26 ' C
Stuffy nose, shot-gun sneezing and breathing through a dry, open mouth because of hay fever.
Waking up in the middle of the night around 2 -3am...(also contributed by point above)
Brought out the fan for the first time and actually turning it on
Actually feeling too hot for being in the sun.
Took out sandals because feet are swelling up.
Loss of appetite due to the heat and wanting to take a cold shower.
Dreading the journey in the tube because of heat and stuffiness.

Oh well, better to be warm than to be cold.....cos that's what I'm made of -Malaysian material.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A day under the Flame of the Forest Tree

It is 1983 in Kuala Lumpur. Right in the heart of this tropical urban city, the old blends with the new. Buildings with gothic-revival motifs, left behind from the old colonial days of Malaya, stand in the blazing sun next to gray modern block buildings typical of the 70's & 80's.

One of these is an old missionary school typically built with 3 petal motifs, curvilinear arches, rose windows and colorful European tiles; and when walking through its passages, one feels  as if in Westminster Abbey or such a church in England except the weather is humid and the rainforest is peeking through the windows. A strange setting, as if someone picked up a block of buildings in old Europe and plonked it in the middle of the tropics.

The centre courtyard of the school is a field where small children in brown and orange pinafores play under a gigantic flame tree, the Delonix Regia or Royal Poinciana, where its petals of brilliant rouge dot the grass as if a great party has ended and confetti are strewn all over the grassy floor.  These are the sons and daughters of the teachers of the school - kindergarten has finished and they are merely waiting for the school bell to ring and their parents can bring them home for lunch.

One of them, a little girl, takes out her handkerchief from out of her pocket and wipes her nose and forehead. Her hair is clammy with perspiration and stuck to her face from the heat and from playing under the sun. All the children are gathered on the long gray bench under the flame tree. It is a good time to sit on the stone bench as it is magically cool compared to the heat warping the atmosphere.They have had a good old time picking up the prettiest and most perfect petals of the flame tree on the ground. The most prized piece of the pickings is the fifth upright petal called the standard, which is slightly larger and spotted with yellow and white.

She studies her handkerchief because the other children aren't paying much attention to her- it is a small cotton square fabric with a pink border folded in a triangle. There's a picture of two rabbits at play  - a cheap printed piece - but she remembers to use it because her mother puts it in her pocket every morning before she dresses to go to kindergarten. Sometimes its Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck but today its two happy rabbits. And to reward her mother's ministrations, she will bring home some red and fiery  petals as a gift including the rare and precious standard.

Its another hot day after all under the old flame tree in 1983. 

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Diary of a Broken Ankle : Day 57

After 18 days after cast removal and 3 physio sessions, I just came off the one crutch. Still walking with a little limp but the muscles are getting stronger. 

Initially I was leaning more on the outer part of the foot and every other muscle in the foot was just floppy. Waking up in the morning guaranteed a sore ankle and it was a pain to step on it. Still needed one crutch at least and had to negotiate stairs one step at a time. Achy pains were around the end bits of the peroneus longus, plantar fascia and in the medial intrinsic muscles of the foot.

As time went along, the other muscles in the foot started getting into the swing of things. Though I can't do ankle raises on the one foot yet, I can start to pretend I don't have a limp.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Diary of a Broken Ankle : Day 39

Merdeka! Merdeka! Shouts my leg. Freed from the cast today after 39 days. I haven't washed my leg since I fell on the field after a round of frisbee.

The nurse used a saw-like contraption that looked like it could cleave my leg but it didn't hurt - just a load of vibrations to break open the cast.  My leg has really shrunk - looks really disgusting.

Finally I got to take a pic of my x-ray. The fracture gap looks like it expanded (!) at one view and closed at another. The doc said I could start FWB (full-weight bearing) and see the physio immediately.
Fracture of the lateral malleolus

Lateral view of the fracture- closing up now

Because I was a bit hesitant to start walking , (after seeing that gap in the fracture),  he gave me an ankle boot and said I could use that for a week.

So at the physios; was told to flex and point and pivot while measuring he measured the angle with a tool that looked like a kind ruler. Then he manipulated my feet to see if there was any pain. Couldn't point my feet downwards  but I could flex my foot abit. Looks the muscles have hardened and knotted up. Was given some exercises to do on a printed piece of paper and sent on my way.

The sensation of putting my feet on the ground was strange- its like electric rods under the sole of my feet as the skin had not felt impact in a while. The boot was more a crutch for my confidence but I used it to walk from Euston road to Oxford circus and take the tube home. It helps as well as a marker for the general public that there's crippled person on the loose.

Anyway after coming home and washing my leg (not scrubbing as was warned!) the skin started to flake off and it feels a bit tender at the moment. 

Dead skin flaking off

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The day life stood....still

I could call this story of a broken ankle as "The day my life slowed down" or " The day I limited my options within a second"

Its a story of accepting that disability has taken over and that everything you do will be a thousand times slower. A frustating life indeed.

You'll be sitting at the corner of your kitchen eating your meals like a maid because you can't carry your plate, and sweating it out at home in the heat even though its sunny outside. Taking a walk in the park will not be easy because getting to the park itself is a challenge.

So what's the difference between the rich and the poor? The difference is that the rich are provided with more options, and these options enable more opportunities in life. It's nothing to do with the money you see So what's the difference between an able-bodied person and a cripple? The able bodied person is provided with more options and opportunities than a cripple. And trust me, you won't believe how many opportunities an able bodied person is afforded until you've lost it.

It may seem that the cripple has it worse off; the poor can choose to earn and not be poor however the cripple can remain a crippled indefinitely. However I've seen some people who are down in the pits and never climb out of their situation. And then there are cripples who defy their broken bodies to do things even better than an able-bodied person. Watch the Paralympics to know what I mean.
It's all in the perspective and the attitude in life.

So with that,  I'd like to thank a friend of mine for encouraging me to get out of my pit and take a "walk" in the sunshine today.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Plants again - since summer is ending (sort of )

Red Robin tomatoes - not as many as I thought it would be
Gloxinia Violacea - the tuber is humongous this year.
Wahaca Chilli reincarnation - last year's plant that 'died' and rose again

Sweet William, my first plant - 3 years old and growing strong

Monday, September 10, 2012

Diary of a Broke Ankle : Day 30

Toes were swollen today (weather was scorching)

I've been hopping on one foot which probably didn't do me much good because started to have stabbing pains which come and go everytime I shift my foot.

Have to take it easier - its been 4 weeks now....can't stand to have another fracture and be in another 6 weeks of cast.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Diary of a Broken Ankle - Day 20

Went to the fracture clinic again for another x-ray. Consultant said it was 'looking good' with no displacements. Fortunately he told me to come back not next week but in 3 weeks time. Said that if the ankle was looking good I could even walk without an aircast boot. Its been quite costly going to the hospital every week with a minicab - total of GBP120 spent just going back and forth from the hospital.

The swelling in the cast is almost gone now.I've been good and keeping it elevated most of the time although I think the weather cooling has played a part. Sometimes my leg does feel awkard and slightly painful when I shift position but it might be because I've been sitting too long in one position with the ankle face up.

Also can see that my left thigh has shrunk considerably compared to my right. Muscles are already atrophying from lack of use. Oh well, I'll deal with that using physio.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Day 11: Diary of a Broken Ankle

Chunky purple boeuf

Went for my 2nd x-ray at the fracture clinic in UCH. Once again 5 stars for the quick procedure. Came 30 minutes earlier than usual and it was the usual process.

1. Check in reception
2. Get called to the waiting room
3. Dr sends you to the x-ray with a green slip
4. Go to x-ray room and pass them your slip (they don't normally start work until 9.30am today for some reason so there was a queue of people outside)
5. Do a couple of x-rays , one lateral and one anterior view
6. Go back to the consultation room and inform them you've done your x-ray
7. Wait to be called
8. When its your turn, speak to the doctor who'll tell you to come back for another one next week and hands you a slip. Be sure to ask for a peek of your x-ray
9. Book another appointment at the reception
20. Come back next week to repeat the whole procedure.

Spoke to another patient today who also broke her ankle. She asked me how I did mine. Apparently she forgot to detach her toe clip on the bike and she fell off. My reason for breaking it seemed stupider than hers but she didn't have the benefit of friends who told her to go straight to the A&E and was walking around in 2 days with a broken ankle! Hence why she had to have screws installed within the same day when she went to check herself in. With that I'd like to thank Usha and friends for supporting me that day so that I won't have the agony of what the other lady faced.

My x-rays look good - I can see the gap between the fracture starting to close up. Amazing how the body heals itself which motivates me to continue swallowing my calcium, Omega 3,6 & 9 and magnesium pills. Too bad I couldn't post it up here . The doctor wouldn't allow me to take a picture of the screen with my phone with the excuse that too many people would request the same. Serves me right for asking - shall just do it when he's not looking next time.

Tip of the day for those in crutches: put some kitchen sponge and rolled it around with bandage tape around the handles. Voila! Instant crutch pads.
A "friend" to lean on...

Friday, August 17, 2012

Diary of a broken ankle: Day 6

Almost a week now - 5 weeks to go before this cast comes off, can't wait. Getting used to life without one leg now. Have been online quite a lot on fractures, bone healing time and rehabilitation. Found the Lauge-Hausen quantitative classification article by AF Pettrone interesting.

Apparently healing torn ligaments and tendons might take a longer time than healing a broken bone. Not sure what the state of my ligaments are as I didn't have an MRI although the consultant at UCL confidently said it was definitely torn...without even investigating it. X-Ray was quite interesting though, must remember to ask for a copy next time I come in.

My ankle hasn't been as sensitive to movement as when I first broke it - just have to becareful not to accidently hit it

Meanwhile it was great to hear from friends. Thank you for your visits, phone calls, texts and emails - you know who you are. Didn't really expect it but really touched by your sympathy. Posting on this blog was meant to share with others who're facing a similar situation, didn't mean everyone to find out. But anyways...time to crack on

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Diary of a broken ankle; Day 4

Went to the fracture clinic today - I must say the service in the UCL Hospital in Euston Road is very good. Was attended to within 15 mins of my arriving to the appointment. I've never seen so many people in crutches before. Nurse removed the original cast and I was sent to the technician's room to make a new one. I had a choice of colours as well - red, blue, pink, purple, yellow, black. The new ones were lighter than the original plaster one - the technician basically just wet it and rolled it around my leg. Felt a warm sensation and within a few minutes, it was hardened and dry. Then sent to the x-ray room for another round of blasting. Then back to the waiting room to be called. Consultant Dr. Ali came around and told me that everything was fine and I'd need to come in within a week to for a progress check. I asked to see my x-ray (since it wasn't readily shown) - he pointed that there was no displacement so it will just have to heal on its own with no weigh bearing. Also made it a point to ask for a doctor's note as this won't be readily given to you.
Since yesterday, noticed that my toes were slightly swollen so i've been trying to wiggle it as best I can- thats the most exercise I can get and keeping it elevated.Walking around on crutches is awfully tiring too....walking 20 metres guarantees swollen palms and a very tired one leg.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Diary of a broken ankle: Day 2

I had a dream last night that I could walk and even run with my cast on - then I woke up and remembered that I was still crippled.

It was difficult to shift position while lying down. No matter which way I lay my leg, it felt awkward - as if my bones get displaced everytime. A bit worried if the bones are already shaken up everytime i moved. I can't wait to get to the fracture clinic which is still 2 days away.

My toes are still ok - can wiggle them and I dont' think my swelling is so bad although I can't see (i've got a half-plaster cast- meaning its wrapped in dressing but the plaster is only half of it)

Also every small thing becomes a challenge - taking a bath, carrying a drink or a plate with your crutches, putting on pants - and I haven't even left the house yet. Everything needs forethought and planning. Everything gets done a thousand times slower as well. Right now I really want to wash my hair but the challenge of not getting my cast wet and the bathroom floor is a bit annoying. Sometone suggested a useful tip of wearing a pouch to carry things around....but I keep taking it off to sit down anyway.

Diary of a broken ankle: Day 1

Yeah so here's an excuse to start writing on your blog again - break an ankle and be forced to stay home.

Missed catching a frisbee and fell awkward - Heard a loud snap and then was on the floor with extreme pain in the left ankle. Unable to stand so K & S had to support me while someone called a taxi. Was taken to the UCL A&E in Euston. Fortunately not many people but had to wait a bit before I got an X-Ray. Radiologist says 'Uh not good- its broken' Looks something like this:
Mine was in the exact location with the sideway-bend towards the ankle i.e I have a Weber B fracture of the fibula. After then x-ray,waited some more for the nurse to confirm what to do with my leg (as orthopedic wasn't there). Noticed toes turning blue-black, so had to elevate it. The swelling was slight but not too extreme. After about another hour or so, was put in a cast and then x-rayed again. The nurses were extremely friendly although i couldn't stand the waiting around. Luckily my poor friends didn't wait too long wasting a perfectly sunny saturday afternoon in the A&E , was only sent home 4 hours later hobbling with K and crutches. Getting into the taxi was tricky and now understand why we need ambulances. I couldn't bend my knee anyway to get into the car, so lay prone along the back seat. When we arrived home I discovered another challenge, I couldn't go up one step! Thought with my crutches I could swing around and get to work even - that was blasted away when I realised the enormity of the task . There was no way I could go up steps without smashing my already smashed leg - my weak arms couldn't support my body weight on the crutches anyway.

Friday, August 03, 2012

At the London Olympics 2012

The tickets

I'd never thought I'd see the day when I could say 'I went to the Olympics!'. If I could go back 10 years to my self in the past and say 'Fiona, you'll see the Olympics', I'd thought you'd be balmy. I was still in Malaysia, the weather was hot, still relatively new in a boring job working with insurance agents and dealing with the day to day of ordinary life. (actually come to think of it, exactly 10 years ago I was in Istanbul, Turkey so impossible thoughts wouldn't have been too far away of being achievable)
Earl's Court Venue
But today, here I am....right in the middle of the London 2012 Olympics. A lot of Londoners took the opportunity to stay away because of threats of transportation disruptions and congestion but I wanted to be in the thick of it. It would also have been madness not to try for tickets being a lifetime opportunity. London has been eerily quiet on the streets which is great - wish the Olympics would never end as I could actually cycle on the road without the fear of being knocked over. For those who did remain, was the reward of the enthusiasm and excitement all over the city. For first time, we're all talking about sports and not the depressing economy...At work, with friends, on TV, FB.
Team USA(white) vs Team Brazil(blue)

To attend an event is to witness the peak of the excitement - the atmosphere was totally amazing. The game was between Team USA and Team Brazil for a preliminary round Group A with both teams almost equally matched though the crowd support was Brazilian-biased. There was never a dull moment as the emcee livened up the crowd prior and between the matches but the match itself was exciting as the USA fought to win 1:3 (3 of 4 matches)

Team GB(red) vs Team Italy(blue)

The 2nd match was the home team vs Team Italy. The home crowd was enthusiastic still (and this was at 1030pm on a school night). The game was less suspenseful as Team GB tried their darndest (ranked 97th vs Team Italy's 6th) but the real story is behind the team itself. This is the sport that Britain slashed Olympic funding, resulting the team living on no income, paying their way through their training on odd-jobs, sleeping on sofas...This was especially true within the women's volleyball team where whatever remaining was prioritized to the men's and beach volleyball. So to come this far was an amazing feat itself. It's the phrase echoed by the founder of the Olympics, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, who said "The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part; the essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well."

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Eric the Eel : Olympics Most Amazing Moments

An amusing programme on BBC picking the 50 most memorable filmed moments in the Olympics had me applauding Eric Moussambami from Equatorial Guinea, easily my favourite out of the 50. The poor dude hadn't learned to swim 8 months before the Olympics but due to a wild card selection to encourage the sport for less developed countries , qualified for the Olympics and endeavoured to train himself in a hotel swimming pool on his own without a coach. He almost didn't finish his event but in the spirit of Olympics, as the 100m was further than he ever trained in his life , added on to the fact he had never stepped into an Olympic pool, the crowd cheered him as if he was a winner. Best Olympic story more of it here

Saturday, July 14, 2012

London Prepares: The Greatest Show on Earth

Anticipation in the city is building; pink way-finding signs flood the London Underground, posters & advertisements picturing fameuex athlethes and sports-like themes all over, news on the media day-in-day-out on the preparations - the whole concentric effort towards the greatest show on earth is generating a new kind of energy despite the tired economic situation. 

The media has been sensationalizing the negatives of the Olympics (because that's what the UK does best - moan) i.e. cracks in the M4 highway leading to Heathrow, long queues at the UK borders, the GS4 security firm fiasco etc. However this does not dampen national excitement as everyone puts the finishing touches on years of planning and effort.

Even during the company Town Hall talks, the leadership stressed on the big  'O'  and how much everyone is putting in i.e. building of new roads, installing 100 baggage screening machines, building an 'Olympic terminal', mobilising volunteers & reservists , all before the 'Olympic Embargo' period kicks in where works must come to a stop to receive the Olympics. Can't help feeling excited despite myself not directly participating in the Olympics. There was even an Usain Bolt wax figure greeting passenger arrivals in Terminal 5 yesterday.

At the Y, huge colourful posters and placards were put up which had terribly interesting content on the YMCA and its contribution to sports and the Olympics. I had no idea that basketball and volleyball were invented in the Y by enterprising and sports-minded American Christian men and women. And that at one point of time (1920s), the Inter-Allied sports organised by the YMCA was so successful that the IOC committee felt that it was in direct competition with the Olympic games. Olympians are still being  nurtured and still training in YMCAs all over the world.

As for myself, I shall be witnessing it first hand - have got tickets to watch Taekwondo (although I know nothing of the sport). Can't miss this once in a lifetime opportunity as it marches right up to my door step.

And as London prepares, so will I - "Citius, Altius, Fortius"

Sunday, June 24, 2012

2012 so far.....

2012 was supposed to be a watershed year for London with the The Olympics, the Diamond Jubilee, the Dragon year etc. The weather in the UK has been badness...I.e.we've already crossed the mid-summer solstice and I'm still wearing my winter jacket. My seedlings have been especially slow ....tomatoes, begonia sempeflorens, night scent, sweet pea and coriander still struggling to green.Only the gloxinia is going strong without a glitch and soon to flower any time now. On a personal note, it was sunnier times ; we had close friends weddings, K coming to Malaysia and meeting the parents and another milestone marked in the sand for life. I still want to learn jazz piano, bake more cakes, run and clock gym times.....Still so many things to look forward to and another half- year more to go.....

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Airport Games - Singapore 1st, Heathrow 2nd, KLIA last

Been back via Singapore Airlines (sitting in an A380 for the first time) and landed in Changi Airport. Seriously impressed with the world-class ambience of Changi - great expanse of space, gleaming floors, well-thought out deco and green plants. The Singaporeans have pulled out all the stops and it shows. Nothing in the airport looks old - including the toilets which looks even fancier than the one at home.

Heathrow  wouldn't be able to match in terms of budget if it were to upgrade, re-fit out and keep up with maintenance costs -the money sure is in Asia now. Although passenger experience is a priority, it still looks jaded and worn somehow.

Then landed in KLIA - which looks like a pasar now compared to Changi. It used to be shiny and new, now cluttered with haphazard kiosks and gaudy advertising on the pillars. Toilets in a less than perfect state ie. water on the floor everywhere, fudged up glass glazing, waiting rooms smelling funny and unclear way-finding. Nevertheless the architecture is still impressive and futuristic- just need to get rid of the trash in it now.

So Passenger Experience from this passenger score - Changi -2, Heathrow - 0.5 and KLIA-0

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Virgin London Marathon 2012 - At the 21.32mile marker

The Elite Wheelchair Category - Mens leading the way
Elite Women Runners - Look at how they go....Mary Keitany on the right (She was alone in the lead last year- this year with others at the lead as well). Can't believe they've already run 34km and still speeding away
Elite Men Runners - The Evolution of Man - Kipsang from Kenya - this year's winner. He was so fast even I couldn't do a continuous shutter snap without him running out of the picture.
Sub-4 marathoners - By this time, the London Marathon would have started for 2 hours and 39 mins now. These runners would have a high chance of hitting the mark under 4 hours with 8 km more to go.
Wilson Kipsang in action - Another shot
Elite Men Runners -Tsegaye Kebede of Ethiopia, Martin Lel of Kenya and Samuel Tsegay of Eritrea. Emannuel Mutai last year's winner is just outside the frame.
Oldest Marathon Runner in the World (101 years old) - Mr Fauja Singh at the 35km marker...I hope you finish Mr Singh! (my personal inspiration to run)

Monday, March 05, 2012


The English love their words. I was sitting in an introduction to project execution requirement for quality management and just realised that every bit of the process is dotted with documentation.

There's a tracker/database of some form with x amount of detail which needed input. At the same time, there's a document to document this input. I appreciate that leaving a legacy behind is important for the future but I believe there can be an overkill and a danger of counter-productivity setting in. In the world of project managemenet, there's a level of extrovertism and constant interaction and influencing which requires a fair amount of effort and time. Then I wonder how there can be an equal amount of exertion and time for quiet introspection and conscientious concentration to put thought to paper.

My manager is required to have strategic thought and provide direction - she is someone who will get down to the level of detail and have regular contacts with the team to influence this direction. Which leaves her very little time to document every step of the way. However unlike back home, you don't see most managers with personal PA's or data entry clerks to manage the input of that amount of data. Malaysia I believe we have at least 2 admin to every 5 people in the team or I could be wrong.

Nevertheless, I appreciate that documentation is so very important. As a personal example, I find myself marvelling at how much forethought had been put in my collating my personal references which enabled me to document my personal skill inventory for my CV. This was a direct result from advice from teachers and seniors who've had enough experience to do so. When I left those jobs, it was fairly easy to forget to do this but fortunately I was left with something to start from. I guess with this, we have a lot to learn from the English

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Greatest Love of All

This is the first and only Whitney song for me.

Written by Michael Masser who also wrote the first of Whitney's greatest hits in the 80's; 'Saving All My Love', 'Didn't We Almost Have it All','All At Once'. Didn't realise that the song was originally recorded by others (Jane Olivor and George Benson). Nevertheless it was this song which was at its greatest during my early teens (11) when Whitney's star was riding high in the sky and it was a sung with strong conviction and its message so important for young girls like myself. It was 1990s when we sang it for the SM CBN choir competition - we didn't win the awards but it became one of the staples for the New Year's Eve session we used too have.

RIP for WH. Thank you for the music.