October 31, 2007

2nd birthday celebration

After giving Yiu Yiu a shower, sis and I wanted to choose a new dress for Yiu Yiu so that she'd look her best. There were several new dresses in her wardrobe, gifts from her previous birthday and other festive occasions, which were too big for her then. I thought she could probably fit into one of those by now and hadn't bothered to try them on her earlier or shop for a new dress. And as Murphy's Law would have it, she's still too small for them. So we had to settle for a less than perfect mix and match pair of a blouse with capri pants.

The caterer arrived to set up the buffet line at about 5pm. Shortly after, the satay man also came and everything was in good order when our first guests arrived at about 6.30pm. After that, it was a flurry of activities with more and more guests arriving, and numerous phone calls asking for directions to our house. Hubby and I were kept very busy entertaining friends and colleagues, and showing them around the house.

Yiu Yiu was in excellent mood that night, though she started to show signs of tiredness by 8.30pm. We decided that it was time to bring out the birthday cake as some guests had also started to leave by then. There were plenty of happy faces when the children saw the Barney cake. Yiu Yiu was also very cooperative and we managed to snap some really nice photos of her smiling with the cake. After an enthusiastic birthday song, the cake was cut. Despite my complaints about how it looked, the simple marble cake tasted really nice.

Right (top to bottom): With Po-po, Ta Yiyi, Siau Yiyi, Yihao and mummy, Yihao giving birthday girl a kiss, with Aunty Yoke Ling and her family

There were leftover foods, so many of the guests took home some curry puffs and agar-agar (made by Yiu Yiu's babysitter), chai kueh (which we had ordered separately), fried meehoon, fried rice, and black herbal jelly. The last guests left at about 11.30pm and while I bathed Yiu Yiu and put her to bed, hubby cleaned the house. We only settled into bed at about 1.00am, tired but happy knowing that the party turned out to be mighty successful.

Pressies galore - mine, mine, they're all mine....muahahaha

Hotels in Brisbane

I love traveling. I love visiting the places of interests in different countries, experiencing their culture and way of life, and of course, having a taste of their native foods. I have been quite lucky that in the course of my work, I've had the opportunity to travel quite a bit. I've been to the USA, Europe and most of Asia. The one region which I've yet to have a chance to step foot on is the Australasian region.

The major tourist spots of Australia surely include the famous Gold Coast and nearby Great Barrier Reef; Sydney, the capital of New South Wales and one of the most glamorous and beautiful cities in the world, with dozens of harbor and ocean beaches in and around it; and the Ayers Rock in the heart of the Northern Territory.

Brisbane, on the other hand, is not exactly on the top of travelers' priority list. But therein lays its charm. The capital of Queensland, Brisbane is relaxed and laid-back. One needs to spend time immersing oneself in its people and culture to appreciate Brisbane. The major attractions of Brisbane include Australia's largest koala sanctuary and hand-feeding wild dolphins at Moreton Bay. Though Brisbane is not as highly popular as some other Australian cities, if I were to visit Brisbane, I'd still like to ensure I have a roof over my head when I set foot in the city. There are plenty of accommodation choices in Brisbane, ranging from the economical bed and breakfast establishments to  posh 5-star hotels. With the advent of internet, booking a hotel is a walk in the park as I can book them online at numerous websites, including CheaperthanHotels.

October 28, 2007

Barney birthday cake

Two weeks ago, I wrote about our indecision on whether to have a birthday bash for Yiu Yiu's second birthday. Though there wasn't much time left, we decided to go ahead and planned for the party. I wanted a Barney birthday cake as Yiu Yiu is very much into Barney now. I got the contact for a cake designer from allthingspurple but she was already fully booked. I then looked up the internet and found several, one of whom had this design which I liked very much. Unfortunately, she was also fully booked already and could only oblige if I would settle for a much simpler design.

One of the other cake designers I contacted could accommodate my late order for a fancy design, and I jumped at the chance and placed my order. I was very excited just thinking about how the cake would turn out. This morning, with great anticipation, I went to collect the cake and the moment I set my eyes on it, I was deflated. Barney, Baby Bop and BJ just don't look like the real thing. The shade of purple on Barney was not right, even the size of Barney in relation to Baby Bop and BJ was wrong. I understand that it's difficult to produce an exact replica, but a Barney smaller than Baby Bop and BJ?

Anyhow, I guess I probably shouldn't sweat the small stuff, and spoil my mood for tonight. I think I'd better expend my energy on making tonight's party a success. Wish me luck, and please sing "Rain rain go away" for me.

Chiang Mai - Part 3

Sunday, October 21

Our flight was in late afternoon so we had time to visit the crafts village of Baan Tawai in the district of Hang Dong, 20km south of Chiang Mai. Baan Tawai has traditionally been the centre of the handicraft trade in North Thailand and remains one of the busiest of such clusters in the whole of Thailand. It is the cheapest place in Thailand to find silk, antique reproductions, incense, candles, oil and soap gift packs, ornaments, lamps, bamboo products, wall hangings, frames, vases and much more.

The village has covered arcades packed full of shops selling every imaginable handicraft in all shapes and sizes. The atmosphere is very laid-back and relaxed, certainly not reminiscent of a tacky collection of souvenir stands. There are also plenty of traditional old wooden Thai houses to admire, some lovely show-gardens full of sandstone sculptures and lots of cute crafts at astonishing prices.

Thai woodcarvers are among the best in the world and woodcarving is the specialty of the artisans of Baan Tawai, a skill passed down for generations. The artisans are incredibly versatile, producing exquisite works in an incredibly diverse array of styles, including carved figurines, Buddhist art pieces, décor items and wall hangings. This is definitely the place to visit, if you want to find that one unique piece of art to complement your home décor.

Holiday Inn Chiang Mai, where we stayed for two nights

October 27, 2007

A tale of two abodes

When sis and I jointly bought an apartment shortly after we started working in KL, we spent many weekends trawling around town looking for various things for the house – ceiling fans, lightings, as well as kitchen and bath accessories. Even though it was time consuming, we enjoyed every minute of it as it was a lot of fun seeing the various designs on offer and comparing prices from one shop to another. It also brought us much satisfaction to eventually see those stuff fitted in the apartment.

When hubby and I bought the house we are currently staying in now, I wasn't as involved in the renovation of the house as I'd like to be. Partly because I was just too busy then, and partly because hubby knows so many suppliers so he took charge in sourcing for most of the household things and liaising with our main contractor. Nevertheless, I'm sure he could have saved some time had he known about Farreys, which offers many household items under one roof.

Coincidentally, our house is only five minutes walk away from sis's apartment, so that's really convenient as she'll just pop by for dinner sometime, and to see her niece. And for us, it's just a short walk away for Yiu Yiu's weekend swimming excursions.

Chiang Mai - Part 2

Saturday, October 20

The conference was jointly organized by the Regional Marketing team and the Maharaj Nakorn Chiang Mai Hospital, Faculty of Medicine, Chiang Mai University. After a grueling day of scientific presentations and workshops from 8am – 5pm, the delegates were treated to a fabulous dinner at the Khum Khantoke Restaurant. Khantoke is a round rattan tray where various kinds of authentic northern Thai food, are served. Khum Khantoke is housed in an exquisite northern Thai house, and dinner is accompanied by a cultural show celebrating dances from every part of the country, including a candle dance, sword dance, hilltribe dance, drum dance and seung kapo.

After dinner, the bus stopped by the Night Bazaar for more shopping. Instead of spending time at the Night Bazaar again, I decided to take a tuk-tuk to the local "Walking Market" held every Saturday outside the Chiang Mai gate of the old city wall. It turned out to be a nice experience as this market is patronized mainly by locals, compared to the touristy Night Bazaar where almost all shoppers are foreigners. Goods sold at this market are also different from that at the Night Bazaar. However, on hindsight, I thought it was quite a dangerous thing to do. There I was, foreign to Chiang Mai and didn't speak their language, taking a tuk tuk which took me through dark alleys alone. However, I guessed I trusted my instincts as I didn't feel unsafe at all. And it's a fact that crime rate is very low in Thailand as Thais are such gentle, loyal and religious people that committing a crime is implausible.

I ended up buying some local handicrafts – knitted floral hair clips and trinket boxes. I also saw some unique photo frames, decorated with small pieces of coloured stones but the price was quite steep. I walked along to see if there's another stall selling the similar items but there were none. Unfortunately when I went back to the stall, the owner had already packed up and left. I'll leave you with a photo of the frames, the one that slipped through my fingers.

October 26, 2007

Home mortgages

For the average wage earner in Malaysia, owning their own property, be it a simple apartment, a luxurious condo, or a more spacious landed property, is a huge financial goal. However, it is becoming increasingly difficult to own that first home as prices of property continue to rise year on year, particularly in major cities such as Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Johor Bahru. Traditionally, banks will only offer home loans of up to 90% of the property price, which means that prospective homebuyers in these cities would need to fork out at least RM18,000 – RM25,000 as initial deposit, which is by no means an easy task for a young person starting out in his or her career. Despite these challenges, many people would still want to own their own home as the cost of renting can be as high as the cost of monthly mortgage repayment. So the logic is, "Why would I pay this amount every month to fund someone else's property when I could have used this money to pay for my own mortgage and eventually owning the home?"

As such, more and more banks are now offering attractive First Time Buyer Mortgage packages. These include waiving the legal fees for the sales and purchase and loan agreements, which can be a substantial amount, depending on the price of the property. Some banks are also willing to offer loans of up to 95% of the property price, thus considerably reducing the initial financial pressure on homebuyers.

October 23, 2007

Chiang Mai - Part 1

Friday, October 19

I just returned from a 3D2N working trip from Chiang Mai. I arrived in Chiang Mai on Friday afternoon, for a one-day conference on Saturday with five of my customers.

Founded in 1296, Chiang Mai is nestled in a valley some 300 metres above sea level and overlooked by Doi (Mountain) Suthep. Chiang Mai was the capital city of the ancient kingdom known as Lanna Thai, the Land of a million rice fields. Literally translated, Chiang Mai means new city, as it was the new capital city of the old kingdom, the old capital city being Chiang Rai. It is now the second largest city in Thailand and the capital of Northern Thailand. Often referred to as Rose of the North, Chiang Mai offers a picturesque mosaic of mountain scenery, ancient temples, colourful hill tribes and a dazzling array of traditional handicrafts. At the heart of Chiang Mai is the old city of Chiang Mai, a neat square bounded by moats and old city walls, with five main gates. Currently only sections of the old city wall still remain.

Old city wall surrounded by moats

Since we had the whole of Friday afternoon free, we chartered a van to Doi Suthep and neighbouring Doi Pui. On the way, we stopped for lunch at Heuon Huay Kaew. Heuon means house and Huay Keaw is the waterfall that provides a delightful backdrop for the restaurant, nestled amidst the jungle. The food tasted as good as the ambience.

Near the summit of Doi Suthep is Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep. Located 3520 feet above sea level, it was first established in 1383 and is one of the north most sacred temples. According to legend, holy relic of Buddha were discovered during the reign of King Kuena (1355 – 1385). The king placed the relics on a howdah on the back of an auspicious white elephant, and vowed that a temple will be built to hold the relics at the spot where the elephant stopped. The elephant wandered freely, headed to Doi Suthep and stopped at the top of the mountain. The elephant died after fulfilling its duty of finding a proper place for the holy relic. The temple can be reached by foot by climbing a 306-step staircase, bordered by a Naga balustrade. One can also ascend by the funicular railways. Inside the temple is a Lanna style chedi covered with engraved gold plates containing the holy Buddha relics, flanked by four ornamental umbrellas. The temple compound also offers an exhilarating view of Chiang Mai city and its surrounding countryside.

The different positions assumed by Lord Buddha on different days of the week

A couple kilometers away, a dirt road leads us to a nearby Hmong (Maew) hill-tribe village. The Hmong are Thailand's second largest hill-tribe group after the Karen. I was expecting to witness the Hmong people in their tradition costumes going about their daily lives but I was grossly disappointed. The village looks like any other villages, with numerous handicrafts stalls, and only a handful of people wearing their traditional black jackets. I bought a pair of Hmong traditional costume for Yiu Yiu and Yihao.

We rounded up the day with a shopping trip to Chiang Mai Night Bazaar after the welcome dinner. The Night Bazaar is a legacy of the original Yunnanese trading caravans that stopped here along the ancient trade route. It is a multi- block area with dozens of street vendors offering a huge variety of Thai and northern Thai goods, as well as fake and authentic designer goods.

October 21, 2007

Harry Potter trivia

What's the name of Albus Dumbledore's phoenix?
Harry Potter star, Daniel Radcliffe and his alter ego was born in the same month. Which month is it?
Which Hogwarts house does Harry call home?
What is the shared occupation of Hermione's parents?
How is Draco Malfroy related to Sirius Black?

Do you know the answer to all these questions? I've watched all the five movies in the Harry Potter series, from the Sorcerer's Stone to the most recent Order of the Phoenix. However, I'm hopeless when it comes to remembering facts of Harry Potter. Of these five questions above, I could only answer two. Do you consider yourself an expert on Harry Potter? If so, challenge yourself to these Harry Potter quizzes on Quibblo Fun Quizzes. Besides taking part in quizzes from a wide range of topics, you can also create your own quizzes and share them with your friends online. There's even a comment/discussion forum on each topic, where you can debate the merits of your favorite quizzes with other users.

October 18, 2007

I struck gold!

There were several pieces of mails in the mailbox when I returned from work yesterday. Among the stack of mails which included bills for Astro, hubby's mobile phone, etc was a mail from Enrich. I didn't think much of it as I assumed it was just my quarterly statement.

After dinner, I sorted out the mail and the words on the envelope of the Enrich mail struck me.

The crumpled envelope. I only remembered to take a photo of this as an afterthought.

I am holding an Enrich Silver card and was thinking to myself, "This can't be…I couldn't possibly have qualified for Enrich Gold". I quickly opened the mail, and voila, true enough, I've been upgraded to Enrich Gold. I was grinning from ear to ear, as it was indeed an extremely pleasant surprise.

My golden surprise
My company has this policy that if our flight time exceeds six hours, we are entitled to fly Business Class. And whenever I fly Business on Malaysia Airlines, I always look forward to the Golden Lounge. Malaysia Airlines indeed has one of the best lounges in the world. The variety of food and beverages on offer is unmatched by most other airline lounges. This year, I flew to Seoul, Orlando and Amsterdam on Business Class so I guess I fulfilled the required airline miles to be upgraded to Gold.

And now with my Enrich Gold card, I have access to the Golden Lounge, even when I fly Economy. And that's indeed golden music to my ears.

October 15, 2007

Re-establishing my fitness routine

I used to be a member of Fitness First. I was a regular at the gym, being there 2-3 times a week and each time, I spend at least two hours working out. I always looked forward to the days when two of my favourite classes, Body Pump and Body Combat, were scheduled back-to-back. I used to be quite obsessed with attending these classes, so much so that if I missed them, I'd be really upset.

I stopped going to Fitness First when I was pregnant with Yiu Yiu. Even though people told me that it's perfectly safe to continue my fitness routine, only at a lower level of intensity, I backed out as I didn't dare take any risk, that being my first pregnancy. Hubby and I were still staying in an apartment then and I switched to swimming instead, as my regular exercise.

After I came back from maternity leave, I couldn't hit the gym circuit again as I was breastfeeding and each day after work, I had to rush home to express milk and nurse Yiu Yiu. My fitness level has pretty much gone down the drain and after I stopped expressing, the pounds started to pile. At one point, many of my clothes which I could wear after I came back from maternity (thanks to the miracle of breastfeeding) no longer fit me.

Early this year, we were informed that my company would be moving to a new office building as the lease in the old building would expire by September. When the office relocation task force finally revealed the location of our new office, I was thrilled as there's a gym in the same building. I vowed that I must start working out again.

We started work in the new office building this week and by the 2nd day, I had already signed up with the gym with two colleagues. It was a pretty decent deal, similar to what I paid in Fitness First three years ago but the facilities in this gym is so much better. We were given six complimentary personal training sessions to familiarize ourselves with the equipments and I attended my first session few days ago. Gosh! After being sedentary for more than two years, I could really feel that my muscles are not as strong. I was expecting to have generalized body ache but to my surprise, I was completely fine. I was tempted to sign up for a proper personal training program but after paying a bomb for the gym membership, I'm reluctant to fork out more money. I hope to get as much pointers as I could in the six complimentary sessions to at least be more effective with my time in the gym. I really look forward to working out again, and regain some measure of fitness and stamina. Hopefully I won't quit half-way.

October 12, 2007

Short-term loans

Dad didn't earn much as a clerk in a mining company. When he left the company after the collapse of the mining industry in the 1990s, his last drawn pay was less than RM1,000. With his meager salary, he had to feed his mother, wife and four young children. Luckily most of the basic necessities were provided for by the company. We lived in staff quarters where water and electricity was provided so dad needn't have to spend on utilities bill, except for the telephone.

To help its employees get by, dad's company had an interesting practice whereby the staff was given cash advance of their salary in the middle of the month, normally amounting to half-month salary. At the end of the month, they would be given the other half. This helped the generally low income workers to get by. I see a similarity between this practice and the modern Payday loans.  Payday loans are short-term loans ranging from $100 - $1500 and application is done through the internet. The advantages of an internet loan are that the process can be done securely and anonymously from one's home and the loan process is often completed faster. If approved, the loan amount is sent overnight via wire into the applicant’s checking or savings account.

It's relatively easy to have the loan approved. Employed people with a minimum monthly pay of $1000 and have an active checking or saving account will qualify. The loan term on Payday loans typically ranges from 4 to 30 days, coinciding with the applicant’s next payday from his or her employer. This is a viable solution for people needing emergency cash. However, one must be disciplined to pay off the loan when payday comes. Otherwise, the interest incurred on the outstanding balance may get one deeper and deeper into debt.

October 11, 2007

To celebrate or not to celebrate?

Yiu Yiu will celebrate her 2nd birthday on November 1. Hubby and I have been contemplating whether or not to organize a party for her. Her 1st birthday was only a small do with family members and several close friends, as dad had just passed away then. The other reason is that we moved into our current house in February but we've not had any house warming party. Many friends and colleagues have also commented that they’ve never visited our home.

If we do go ahead, we'll probably do it on the last weekend of October, as hubby will be away in Shanghai for several days beginning November 1. I've just got two caterers to give me their menu and price list, and if we really go ahead, I have to hunt for someone to bake a nice cake, and perhaps a clown to keep the children entertained as well. Not sure if I want to go through all this hassle. But the biggest question in my mind is, is two weeks too short a notice for people to attend the bash?

October 08, 2007

Amsterdam in passing

Amsterdam gets its name from the Amstel River and the dam that blocked it at the present day Dam Square. The city was officially founded in 1275 after the residents living near the Amstel dam were granted toll freedom – meaning they didn’t have to pay tolls as they navigated the waterways of Holland. Amsterdam itself has over 90 islands (polders, flat land created from what used to be water by pumping out the water), 160 canals (grachts), over 1200 bridges, and a population of approximately 750,000 people. Almost all of what makes up Amsterdam today was completely underwater 700 years ago.

Netherlands is the official name of the country. Holland is the name of the province of which Amsterdam is the capital. It united with other provinces as a country to fight Spain in 1579. With Amsterdam at its centre, Holland was the most important region in the newly formed country and remained the informal name of the country.

Over 20% of Netherlands is below sea level and much of the land has been reclaimed from the sea, hence the name Netherlands, or the "Low Countries". Over the centuries the innovative and industrious Dutch people have sectioned off land with dikes and have used windmills to pump water out of low lying areas, creating farmland where there was previously only water.

Many of the 17th century waterfront warehouses and gabled merchants' dwelling have been converted into residences. Equally distinctive are the houseboats with their flowerpots, pets and washing lines, one of the most recognizable sights of Amsterdam.

A houseboat moored in front of canal houses

The slanting houses of Amsterdam

Amsterdam is also known as the City of Bikes, since there are over one million on the streets today. The typical bike in Amsterdam is called an Oma-Fiets (Granny Bike). There is no need for mountain bikes as there are no mountains in the Netherlands, and if you had one, it would likely be stolen within 24 hours. Bikes here are so old and rusty because of rampant bike theft. The rule of thumb is to spend more on a lock than the bike itself.

Prostitution is legal in the Netherlands and prostitutes in Amsterdam's Red Light District work in clean premises, pay taxes, receive regular medical checks, are eligible for welfare, and even have their own trade union. Pot smoking is also legal and acceptable in Amsterdam. Coffeeshops, establishments in which hashish and marijuana are sold can be found in many streets of Amsterdam.

Clockwise from top left: A granny bike, preparing hashish outside a coffeeshop, magnets of Amsterdam

Car vacuum

Even though we live in a landed property, hubby and I are just too lazy to wash our cars ourselves. There's a car wash just three minutes drive away from our house so hubby always send our cars there for washing. Moreover, the owner offers a 5+1 package, which means, for every five washes, you get one free. The best part is that the offer does not go on a per car basis. So hubby can take both his and my car for washing and we get the 6th wash free.

Sometimes however, all I need is just to clean the interiors from all the sand, pebbles and what-have-you that gets into the car, and also food crumbs courtesy of my little darling. Whenever my car needs vacuuming, I'll just use the normal vacuum cleaner we use for the house but it's such a chore navigating the bulky equipment inside the narrow confines of the car. That's when I wished we have a car vacuum like the one below.

Perhaps I should consider buying this for hubby for the festive season. That's a conniving way to get something for myself in the disguise of buying gifts for him.

October 04, 2007

23-month old

What difference does two weeks make? When I went to the babysitter's house after I came back from Paris last Thursday, Yiu Yiu was taking her nap. I was a little disappointed as I had wanted to see her before going to work. I chatted with the babysitter for a short while as I passed her the pralines I bought in Brussles. A couple of seconds later, we heard Yiu Yiu calling from inside the room, "Mummy mummy". She had heard us, and quickly woke up from her nap. The babysitter went into the room and carried her out, and I was surprised at how different she seemed to look. It might be because she had just woken but she looked, well, a little more mature. She's almost two anyway, so perhaps it's time she loses her babyish look.

Her physical development is pretty similar to last month. What amazes me most the last few days is her much expanded vocabulary. She knows a whole lot more words, be it in English, Mandarin or Cantonese compared to when I left for Amsterdam. She is also repeating words after us, even multi-syllabic ones, like a pro. I hope she can soon string together simple sentences and hold simple conversations. I think I'm gonna have loads of fun when she can do that.

Hubby also told me that while I was away, she seemed to be going through a growth spurt, and was constantly asking for milk. She's feeding well on solids, and has recently acquired a taste for cultured milk drink, which she didn't like before.

I'm hoping to also take this opportunity to wean her from breastfeeding. While I was away, hubby reported that she didn't look for her nen-nen and happily took the milk he offered her in the bottle. She even seemed to sleep better when I was away and she could sleep throughout the night, unlike when I'm around where more often than not, she'll stir in the middle of the night and look for her fix. The last few nights, she woke up few times and asked for nen-nen and I tried not to give in but simply carried and rocked her back to sleep. She didn’t fuss all that much and went back to slumberland quite quickly. During the weekend, when she asked for nen-nen, we distracted her with something else – a toy, snacks, etc and she quickly forgot about her nen-nen. She only suckled twice over the last few days so I hope I'll succeed this round.

October 02, 2007

One festivity after another

Time really flies. We are already in the month of October and before we know it, the brand new 2008 will be upon us. In many parts of the world, year end is always a time of festivities. In the Western countries, the festivity begins with Halloween on October 31, followed by Thanksgiving on November 22, culminating in Christmas on December 25 before ending it with a big bang with New Year's countdown on the last day of the year.

Over here in Malaysia, we also have our own festivities to keep everyone in the festive mood. The holy month of Ramadan when the Muslims fast from dawn to dusk ends on October 12, with Hari Raya Aidilfitri marking the end of the fasting period of Ramadan. Less than a month after Hari Raya Aidilfitri, the Hindu community will celebrate the victory of good over evil during the Divali festival. Hari Raya Aidiladha will follow on December 20, just a few days before Christmas and New Year. So it's one festivity after another.

Customarily, "open houses" will be held during these cultural and religious festivals. Unique to Malaysia, the "open house" concept is such that friends and families would visit the homes of those who are celebrating the festival, to wish them well and enjoy the feast prepared by their hosts. And when visiting "open houses" it's always polite to bring a gift to the host. With the advent of the internet, I have endless options in choosing an appropriate gift, even when it's not locally available. I can purchase a unique set of crystal fruit collection using The Paragon coupon, or a Seven Habits planner with Franklin Covey deals for a colleague who's into the Seven Habits. All these deals are possible thanks to Coupon Chief, a coupon deal and discount resource website.

October 01, 2007

Bad start to a brand new week

I was just two minutes away from my office at Menara Merais. As I was making a right turn into the narrow lane in the residential area, I saw this red Toyota Vios coming out from the lane. The lane would be too narrow to accommodate two cars so I stopped in my track, though I was in the middle of the main road, to let her pass. I could clearly see that she was holding her mobile phone in one hand while trying to maneuver the steering wheel with the other hand. As she approached, I could see that she her car was getting closer and closer to mine and I knew the inevitable would happen, and it did. The front bumper of the Vios hit my front bumper.

The driver of the Vios reversed her car, turned back into the narrow lane and stopped behind my car. A young girl in t-shirt and shorts, she was apologetic and said she lived just around the corner. We inspected our cars and luckily, both only had minor dentations and scratches. After exchanging phone numbers and taking photos of the damaged parts, she left with the promise of reimbursing my repair costs. What a bad way to start the week - my first accident since I owned this car in April last year. And here's the damage to my car, and a sketch of where the accident took place.