August 31, 2007

Enlightenment Ceremony

In the Chinese calendar, the 7th lunar month in general is regarded as the Ghost Month, in which spirits, including those of the deceased ancestors, will roam among the living. The Ghost Festival is on the 14th day o the month. It is believed that on the 13th day of the month, the three realms of Heaven, Hell and the living are open and the Taoists and Buddhists would perform rituals to absolve the sufferings of the deceased.

This year, the Ghost Festival fell on Sunday, August 26. In conjunction with this, Nilai Memorial Park organized the Enlightenment Ceremony from Friday, August 24 till Sunday, August 26. The theme for the ceremony this year was "Messages with Love, Remembrance with Gratitude", a ceremony held in the traditions of Buddhism and Taoism to honour the departed and to promote good deeds, love and filial piety. Prayers were held at specific times on all three days to release the departed souls from suffering and usher the departed souls into the realm of Heavenly Peace and Eternal Happiness. Families of the departed could choose one of six choice of altars, ranging from RM300 to RM10,000. We purchased the RM500 package, which included prayers for up to three departed souls, which we included dear old dad, and his parents.

We arrived at Nilai Memorial Park slightly after 12 noon last Sunday and the place was already packed with people. There were many stalls offering fruits, drinks, snacks and religious publications and CDs set up around the park, lending a festive atmosphere to an otherwise somber and peaceful area. We quickly located the position at which the altar was placed among the hundreds, if not thousands of altars in the makeshift prayer's hall. Praying materials and offerings were provided at the altar so we performed our prayers at the altar, before heading to the columbarium which held dad's ashes for another quick prayer. Vegetarian lunch was also served FOC. At 1.15pm, the monks performed a round of prayers around the makeshift prayer's hall before commencing the ritual prayer that would culminate in the burning of paper offerings. The line-up of paper offerings was impressive – there was a ship, some mansions, cars, horses, not to mention cartons and cartons of offerings of gold and paper money. After the prayers in the prayer's hall, family members and volunteers carried the hundreds of altars and arranged them on the ship, which signifies giving directions to the spirits, before the monks performed the final ritual prayers, circling around the paper offerings. The Chief Reverend Chi-Di then lighted the paper offerings and within seconds, the offerings disappeared underneath the huge ball of fire. We left soon after without staying for the closing ceremony to avoid the traffic jam when droves of people would be leaving the park.

Holidays to New York

Hubby has a group of close friends whom he had known since his primary and secondary school days. Three of them will be getting married at the end of the year. We were having breakfast with two of them this morning and inevitably, we asked about how their marriage preparation is coming along. They also revealed that they are planning to spend their honeymoon together as a foursome, most likely holidays to New York.

As I've been to New York earlier this year, I shared with them what are the possible flights to New York that they can book, as well as places of interest in New York. They are quite excited about staying in Manhattan, at the heart of the Big Apple. I also encouraged them to visit Brooklyn, a quieter but nonetheless happening borough just across the bridge from Manhattan. And of course, Statue of Liberty is a must-see in New York, which they can view by taking the free Staten Island ferry, together with thousands of other New York commuters.

Their biggest concern is getting cheap flights to New York as flights costs account for the largest bulk of the holidays. I suggested that perhaps they should check out DialAFlight, a leading independent UK travel company offering flights, hotels & travel ideas worldwide. Full of useful travel information, they can search for flights, hotels, car hire and travel ideas at DialAFlight website at To book with DialAFlight, they will need to call and speak with one of their UK travel consultants who will ensure that their requirements are fulfilled. By speaking on the phone with the consultants, our friends can be sure that their tailor-made holiday is exactly as they want it.

August 28, 2007

Mothering baby

Since several months back, Yiu Yiu has developed a soft spot for babies. Whenever she sees a baby or even toddler, she will smile gleefully, point to the baby/toddler and keep saying "Baby". Sometimes, she would even go close to "sayang" the baby/toddler. She also has a book in which there is a picture of a doll, which she never fails to take out every night and point out "Baby" to us.

Seeing her fascination with babies, Papa bought her a baby doll recently, one that comes with a bottle of milk, a set of baby feeding system and a potty. This is her current favourite toy. She will cradle the baby doll in her arms and feed her milk as well as make the baby doll sit in the potty. And my cheeky little girl will exclaim "Hmmm…chou chou ah" after the baby doll has sat on the potty for a while. She will then take the potty and empty the contents into the dustbin. And when she sleeps at night, she'll make sure the baby doll is at her side, with blanket pulled up to the doll's neck. She's acting all grown up, mothering the baby doll.

August 23, 2007

In love with the purple dinosaur

Yiu Yiu recently developed a penchant for Barney and his friends. Papa bought several Barney VCDs for her sometime back but only recently she would ask to watch them. And she's quite a fan, as many young children her age is. She won't get tired of watching the same VCD over and over again. And whenever Barney's theme song comes on after each episode, she would walk over and give mummy a big hug and a kiss following the cue of the song. And mummy has been watching the shows with her countless times, so much so that mummy is humming Barney songs like "Mister Sun" and "Ring Around the Rosie" at work!

August 17, 2007

Why I signed up for PPP

I blogged about the process of getting my blog approved by PayPerPost (PPP). Now let me share a little about why. As mentioned previously, I first stumbled upon the world of blog marketing from MMB, a parenting forum that I frequent. Some of the veteran posties such as 5xmom and Shopping Mum shared their experience in getting paid while blogging about the things they love and it got me interested. I tried to find out more about the world of blog marketing, and naturally visited PPP for more information. The idea of earning some money while writing appealed to me and I promptly signed up when I met the posting criteria. I knew I wouldn't be a prolific postie but nevertheless, as the Malay saying goes "Sikit sikit lama lama jadi bukit". It means that we need to start small and over time, it will become a mountain.

PPP is currently the main blog marketing service I utilize. It has the most number of opportunities, even though I don't qualify for the majority of them. I've written only but a few paid posts, mainly because I only take an opportunity if I feel I can relate to it. Nevertheless, it's gratifying to see the balance in my Paypal account growing very slowly but surely. There really isn't much I can do with whatever little money I have in there right now but someday, I hope I will have enough to bid for something on eBay.

August 15, 2007

Dancing queen

My little girl loves dancing. Whenever we watch any shows with music, in particular pop music, she would gyrate and move her body to the beat of the music. We were watching the Astro's New Talent Quest finale on Sunday night, in which the Taiwanese group S.H.E made a guest appearance. I managed to capture this on video, my little girl bogeying to the beat of S.H.E.

Kitchen furnishings

We moved into our landed property early this year. Renovation works began late last year and we engaged a designer cum contractor who practically took care of most construction as well as furnishing works. We extended the kitchen as I prefer to have a much bigger space to work in, coz I absolutely hated the tiny cramped kitchen in our previous apartment. As with the majority of Malaysian households, we installed built-in kitchen cabinets.

Another option we could go for was aluminium cabinets. Aluminium cabinets are great for the kitchen because they don't rust and look great. We can even choose the colour to match the colour scheme of our kitchen. What is important for me is that the cabinets must come with multiple shelving and storage compartments as I am a stickler for tidiness and like to keep the kitchen clear from mess. Another important feature is wide table top area, since I like to have all my ingredients prepared and within reach when I fire up the wok. Something like this would do, but I'd opt for white instead of red.

August 13, 2007

Smelly pillow

Yiu Yiu normally sleeps between me and hubby on our king size bed. She has claimed that territory for herself and gets upset if her papa tries to inch his way over to her space, which he is very fond of doing, just to tease her. We have three pillows arranged neatly in a row, one each for me, Yiu Yiu and papa.

Yesterday while getting ready to bed, papa was playing a game with her by pointing out to each pillow for Yiu Yiu to say out loud to whom it belonged.

Papa: Whose pillow is this?
Yiu Yiu: Mummy
Papa: Whose pillow is this?
Yiu Yiu: Yiu Yiu
Papa: Whose pillow is this?
Yiu Yiu (bent head, took a sniff at the pillow): Eee…chou chou (smelly) ah…

Hubby and I were so amused! It was such an unexpected act and we were left wondering why she did what she did.

August 12, 2007

Back from Siem Reap

We got back yesterday evening, reaching home at about 5pm. The flight was delayed for an hour, as it did on the day we departed. Shortly after reaching home, we went to pick Yiu Yiu up from the babysitter. She had just woken up from her nap but nevertheless, stretched her arms towards me the moment she saw me walking through the gate. It felt great to be hugging and carrying her again after several days.

The trip without her didn't turn out that bad, and in a way, I was quite glad we didn’t bring her along, for her as much as our sake. She would have suffered for lack of rest, and we the adults would be so exhausted carrying her around, and would not be able to do as much as we could have. We did call home every night though, just to ensure that everything is alright, and to listen to her voice.

Will try to post some updates on the trip, but I expect mountains of work waiting for me in the office when I get back tomorrow so that may take a while.

August 08, 2007


I first learnt about the potential of earning money through blogging from a parenting forum that I frequent. Subsequently, I signed up for PPP and Bloggerwave, with the aim of trying to make some internet moolah, though I know I won't be a prolific postie. With my long working hours and taking care of the household after work, I hardly spend time updating my blog, let alone blog for money. Nevertheless, whenever I have the chance, I will try to log in to check out available opportunities.

Recently I discovered Smorty, another service connecting advertisers with bloggers. Advertisers can pay bloggers to write opinion posts with links back to the advertisers' site. Smorty works in a different way than PPP or Bloggerwave in that an email will be sent to suitable bloggers whenever new campaigns are available. That way, if you are like me, connected to the email throughout the work day, you will be notified if there's a new campaign that suits my profile.

So far I've written one post for Smorty and I must say that I'm pretty impressed with their efficiency. Best of all, the payout gets into your Paypal account pretty swiftly too. With Smorty, I've found another avenue to get paid for blogging.

Hotel reservations

I am going to Amsterdam to attend a conference in September. Typically, the global marketing team will appoint a travel agent to handle bookings from all subsidiaries across the globe and this time around, it was no exception. However, I found out that I have been allocated an airport hotel. There is a shuttle train from the airport to the city and even though it is not inconvenient to get to the convention centre from the airport hotel, I don't want to be staying so far away from the bustling city, where all the action is.

I decided to try to make my own bookings through the conference website but to my dismay, most of the reasonably priced hotels are already fully booked during that period. The available ones are really expensive, more than €400 per night, not inclusive of tax. Not satisfied, I decided to trawl the Net for more hotels. The obvious course of action was to go to established travel sites such as Travelocity, Expedia, Orbitz, Yahoo Travel and such. However, since the number of delegates expected at the conference is in the thousands, and most hotels in Amsterdam have small capacity, I had a tough time looking for one that satisfies my requirements.

Not one to give up easily, I continued surfing and my persistency and tenacious efforts was duly rewarded when I stumbled upon Hotel Reservations. Not only do they have a variety of offerings in accommodation choices such as hotels, motels, resorts and vacation rentals, their rates are super competitive. They also offer great discounts and special promotions at various world wide destinations. I promptly took a look at the few hotels that I'd like to stay at and voila! I managed to find one which is still open for reservations for the period that I would be there. Without further consideration, I took out my corporate card and secured the room. Great, now I have one less thing to think about for the upcoming trip.
So if you are looking for great hotels at great locations, go ahead and drop by .
You'll be glad that you did.

Siem Reap, with mixed feelings

We managed to get free tickets during the Air Asia free ticket promotion earlier this year for our trip to Siem Reap. Our initial plan was to take Yiu Yiu along, as I would be traveling with hubby, mum and sis, just as we had brought her to Hanoi. We had even purchased a ticket for her, as there was no free ticket for infants. However, many people have advised us against bringing her along, as Angkor Wat is no walk in the park for traveler with children. There's a lot of climbing involved, with steep and uneven steps, and it would be difficult, not to mention dangerous, to be carrying an infant in your arms. Younger sis who went there with some colleagues three months ago also strongly discouraged us from bringing Yiu Yiu along.

We had to make the tough call to leave Yiu Yiu with the babysitter overnight for a couple of days. Luckily I was blessed with an extremely kind woman as my babysitter and she agreed to care for Yiu Yiu for the four days that we would be away. We are leaving early this morning and return on Saturday. She even asked us not to pick her up last evening, since we need to be at the LCCT by 8am. But we did anyhow, at least spend a couple of extra hours at home with her.

So as much as I look forward to visiting one of the world's heritage sites, I feel extremely lousy having to leave Yiu Yiu behind. If I had to travel for work, I don't really feel guilty but going on a vacation without her, it just doesn't seem right!

August 06, 2007

The worst is over, almost

I survived the madness of the past two weeks. I returned from Singapore on two Wednesdays ago, only to leave again on Friday for my launch road shows. The road shows were a success, and at least made all the late nights seemed worthwhile. We had an internal launch last Tuesday, followed by the sales force launch training over three days last week. And now, I can truly heave a huge sigh of relief, as the worst is over. Hopefully the pace will slow down a little, though I know it won't return to the usual pace at least until six months post launch. But hopefully, things won’t be as bad as it had been in the past few months and I'd get to spend more time with my little one.

I'm gonna take a short break from work beginning Wednesday this week, for the long awaited trip to Siem Reap, which we got free tickets during the Air Asia free flights promotion earlier this year. I have mixed feelings about this trip…will write more about this in another post.

And by the way, we didn’t manage to celebrate hubby's birthday upon my return from Singapore. The plan was to celebrate on Thursday, a day after I returned but I ended up working till 11.30pm in the office that night. And I didn't have time to find something suitable for him at Changi Airport, so no gift and no nice dinner this year.