How Meetings Are Conducted in The Boo

Meetings are the serious side of  business – and becoming almost fun in The Boo and a source of entertainment second to watching bootleg DVDs easily sourced from the local mall.

Now, anyone who has ever participated in group projects will know that a meeting is a platform to put forward issues to be discussed, sorted, reviewed, assessed or negotiated.  Most importantly, meetings help to improve communication channels and the information gathering process in order to ‘seal the deal’.

Suffice to say, I am made to endure monthly meetings in The Boo which tangent off the norm whereby the person calling the meetings works on his own personal vendetta in maliciously discrediting another member without the knowledge of business operation nor management, much less in bringing about a constructive and productive end-result, in the end, he achieved nothing other than making a fool of himself and wasting people’s time. This cycle (meetings – we have at least 10 in 1 day!  Go figure!) repeats every month timed to his sibling’s return from overseas.

Of course a lot of groundwork has to be done beforehand, that in gaining support of the other free-loading members,   Untruths are easy to dispell and accepted when benefits are involved. It is the conscience that has to be overcame,that’s when Lord Almighty comes in, “Our Father who art in Heaven, I come visit every Sunday”, and thus let meself be known as good-standin’ Christian. Heck! Ain’t know how tah read dah Bible ‘tho! No probs bro, just show dah face up! And thus, a town of sinners redeemed by the numerous Churches of different secs came.  (Yeah, I see a Church to the left and out  to the right of my apartment window)

As always and without fail, meetings has to be kicked off by the self-crowned Chairman-cum-MD (was cum Company Secretary as well before the legal eagles said “no can do”) for quorum. Torture then proceeds with his reading from the agenda. His oft side-kick aka his son aka drop-kick will thus read from his own set of script prepared by solicitors (paid no less from the Company’s coffers) and duly responded by the father by reading from his own set of scripts!  Back-and-forth and back-and-froth, seriously dudes your show/ duo-logue is bad – neither convincing nor deserving of the fudly TV – rewind and repeat, I doze off and can even repeat your lines. And why can’t you?

So Friday was one of those days, my first meeting started at 8:45am.  The only misnomer was that I had been kept awake by the annoying neighbourhood mutt which could not stop barking from 2am and was still going on when I left home at 7am. Tired and irritable, the fun of seeing people putting on a monkey-show reading from prepared scripts is wearing thin.  To break the monotony, I asked some questions, they can’t answer, irritated, they proceeded to raise their voice, then toned down when they realise they are losing their cool.   The indignant me asked some more questions and you see their faces darken.  Anyway, not in the mood to bicker, I have more important thing to do, say, “Toodle-doo, am ducking home Down-under.  Got a flight to catch.  See ya later, ta-tah!” .  I see their faces drop in disappointment, “What?”.  Sorry, dudes, I know you have prepped for 2 nights, judging from your Panda-eyes, but you can repeat your performance 6 more times yourselves – just tape record it and sent me the minutes, no? .  I pray that the chills awaits as I have a brand new Christopher Kane fur jacket mom bought for me hanging in my wardrobe.

With plenty of time, I swung by Sing Mee Kee Coffee Shop for the famous ‘Soon Kai’s Kampua’, named after a politician by his cronies because that was the kampua (dry tossed noodles) stall he often frequented. Much like tbe expired politician facing his twilight years battling Parkinson, this ordinary plate of tossed noodles in MSG and oil/ lard is cold, tasteless and unmemorable if not for its namesake.

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Kampua, dry tossed noodles traditionally in lard that Sibu is famous for

Much flavoursome and memorable was my inflight meal from Sibu to Kuala Lumpur. A Chicken Korma in thick peanut gravy, pickled vegetables and Biryani rice served piping hot. The sweet beef vermiceli was delicious, ate the marashino cherry but better leave the old-school Black Forest cake with mock cream untouched.

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MAS Inflight Meal from Sibu to KL

[Disclaimer:  Under the influence of a cheap Champers in the Kris Lounge, Changi Airport, I wrote this post on a strictly without prejudice basis whilst awaiting for my flight home to Sydney tonight.  So see yu later alligators, when I’m back in Sy-der-ney!]

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My ride – SilkAir from KL to Singapore today

Sweet Deception @Melur & Thyme, Suria KLCC, Kuala Lumpur

Date of Visit:  June 9 2013

The last time I was at Harrod’s Cafe at Suria KLCC, I noticed that there was a new bistro opposite serving Malay food.  Melur & Thyme it was called, but somehow, I couldn’t help getting the name confused with ‘Melur & Telur’ , I guess ‘Telur’ rhymes better with ‘Melur’.   To those non-Malay speakers out there,  ‘melur’ means ‘jasmine’ and ‘telur’ means ‘egg’.

As we had just landed in KL from Hong Kong.  I wanted to check out the Diane Von Furstenberg shop here.  In particular, I wanted to buy the silver beaded top shown in the SS13 catwalk collection which was sold-out in Hong Kong.  As luck went, no luck for me, I couldn’t find it in the shop,  I did notice that the DVF here is more expensive by probably 20% .  No bargain for me, since I can get 10% off all tax free DVF stock in HK.

A couple more shop hops later, we turned up at Melur & Thyme for lunch.  (FYI, Ladies, KL fashions are far more colourful than the boring office wear for the OLs aka ‘Office Ladies’)

Mom and I ordered Mint Kombucha which we saw advertised on the blackboard on our way in. What arrived were 2 very sweet drinks, tasting like Sprite and can be passed off as Sprite. Isn’t Kombucha a probiotic tea drink, so it should at least look a teeny-weeny brown? Moreover, there was no hint of mint and this left me puzzling whether I got the wrong order… and  whether the scrounge on a sprig of mint?

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The menu is lengthy mix of Western and Malaysian.   I skipped through all the ‘Western’ selections of eggs, pasta, grills and settled on the ‘Eastern’ local delights.  This is after all Malaysia, and I should try improved Malaysian food right?

My Nasi Lemak is one-dimensional. One word – SWEET.   Earlier, I saw the waiter taking a parcel wrapped in leaf from the bar counter top, presumably, my nasi lemak to zap in the microwave.  But it was not warmed up properly, a tad cold, another disappointment.  On top of my nasi is half a hard-boiled egg hiding some peanuts at the bottom.  Also accompanying the nasi were cucumbers and 2 sambals; the sweet sambal ikan bilis and sambal cuttlefish.  My mom liked the cuttlefish sambal and reckoned its been rehydrated from the dried cuttlefish.  The nasi was fine, but didn’t tickle my fancy much.

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Mom ordered a bowl of Grandma’s Hokkien Mee which is a huge bowl of rice noodles with shredded chicken, veggies, bean sprouts, prawns, fish balls, fish slices, a hard-boiled egg as well as other condiments.  The comment that I got from her was ‘the broth is very flavoursome but simply too sweet’.

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My brother ordered Curry Mee.  Again, it’s huge.  It had the same ingredients as  my mom’s big bowl of noodles, but had the extras of  fried tofu pieces and snake beans.  The soup looked very thick and smelt nice.  I presume that it uses coconut milk.  It came with 2 types of noodles, pretty unusual for us…

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Round yellow noodles

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Rice vermicelli noodles

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Looking around, I noticed the other patrons at the next table ordered pasta.  I like the look of big juicy tiger prawns, but the amount of gravy that came with the pastas would be too much for me.  In hindsight, after reading other foodie blogs, I realised that Melur & Thyme’s speciality is duck, and I should have order a duck instead, oh well, next time…

I actually liked the interior of this bistro more than anything else. It’s very very cost effective and simply done using white tiles as backdrops for the metal wrought filigree of a sketch of caricatures eating out at a bistro.  This gave an interesting twist and instant quirkiness to the interior.

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If you look closely at the photos, you see the bottles at the bar sitting on glass shelves.  Again metal lattices were used to give a 3-dimensional visual layering of the wall as well as presenting the ‘presence’ of an actual drinks-shelf without the heaviness.  Even the timber ceilings have metal swirling clouds to give a visual interest to an otherwise boring ceiling.

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Unfortunately, the use of hard surfaces on walls, floor and ceilings made the side-walk cafe to be overbearingly noisy.  With uncontrollable screaming children dining at the other end of the bistro, I had a rather miserable evening with ringing ears.

On Beating Haze and My Blurry Vision

How was your week, dudes and dudettes?

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June 23rd 2013 @ 7:20pm: The closest the red burning moon is to the earth for the year.

Most of you have would have heard of the awful haze blanketing Singapore and Malaysia since last week.  These were the effects of open field burnings for clearing agricultural lands in Indonesia, a yearly phenomenon. The air pollution index reached hazardous in Singapore and some parts of Malaysia that schools were closed.  I stayed indoors over the weekend and thought I would do some blogging, but the heat and the smog got the better of me.  Instead, I was rotating between sleeping on my couch and on my bed, the more I lazed around the more tired I got.  I also managed to surf the net while lounging on my sofa – I was reading a dude’s blog on on-line dating, aptly called ’28 dates’.  His quest was to find his Miss Perfect in 28 dates…  Good luck Willard!  (If you ever come to Malaysia, I’ll go on a date with you!)

And so, Monday rolled around and although the haze has improved a little bit, I am still feeling extremely lethargic today, with a puffy face and blurry eyes.  I am even smelling of a BBQ!  (Talk of a non-smoker getting lung cancer!  How under-rated!)

With the heat, the smog and irritated eyes, what could be worst than that?

I broke one of my Ortho-K contact lenses!  (The left one)  Drats!

How did that happen?  I don’t know.  When I took it out of my case and it was already broken in half.  Now, where can I get a replacement in Malaysia, let alone in The Boo?  I thought about asking my optometrist to send me  a replacement from Sydney but then again, my eyes are to due be rechecked – besides,  Ortho-K contact lenses don’t come cheap – at about AUD700 a pair.

So, what’s ‘ortho-k’?  It’s  also known as Orthokeratology to treat far-sightedness, astigmatism, and age-related loss of close vision, but it was first developed to correct myopia.  I wear my lenses to sleep and remove them the next morning.  My vision remains clear the next day, no need for specs and perfect for sporting – no need to worry about sand getting into my eyes or losing my lenses in the middle of a game.

While not guaranteeing a perfect 20/20 vision, I’m still thrilled that it was effective on me – a candidate in her 30s with far-sighted, near-sighted (myopic), and even astigmatism!  It took some time to get the focus right in the beginning as I was under wearing it, then over wearing it.  The optimal shuteye time I found out later for me, is 7 hours.

Back to the present, now what?  

Well, since vision in both my eyes are around the same degree, (except probably the radial circumsphere of tbe eyeball differing), I  decided to wing it by rotating the wear of the lense on each eye until I go back to Sydney end of July for a proper check-up.   Sure, my vision may be impaired the next day if I discontinue wear for one night, with headaches ensuing, but I’m used to it.  (*Tough it out*)

As for the heat, how do I keep my cool?  Stay indoors and eat ice-potongs, dudes!

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Ice-potongs – a traditional Malaysian popsicle, literally meaning ‘cut ice’

Of Office Politics and A Trip to Bintangor

Date:  June 15 2013

Weekends in The Boo makes me realise how much I love to be at work.  There is hardly anything interesting to do nor malls to go.  The TV series and movies on Astro TV Channels are uninteresting and can be made into historical docos, yet they have them on repeat.   I can’t do any outdoor activities due to the heat and haze.  With the rice-planting season coming next month, the farmers are preparing their land by burning the soil.  Burning has the effect of disinfecting the land while also acting as a natural fertiliser.

Today, I went on a road-trip to Bintangor which is about 45mins away.  All the bumping, rattling and shaking tired me out so I took a nap before my planned run in the evening.  Anyway, I got woken up by an email from the office at 4pm (on a Saturday arvo!!  Some serious OT here…), so I had to draft a reply to the retarded email from a director of the company.  He is also a ‘Datuk Pemanca’, that is ‘Justice of Peace’ or some sort of  leader in the Chinese Community in The Boo.  Let’s check out how retarded he is… Here are some of the highlights…

  1. Reading from prepared scripts (in English) in his thick Foochow accent, peppered with pompous, big, unpronouceable English words  – kinda funny trying to catch what he is saying and ask him to repeat;
  2. Reading from well-rehearsed and co-ordinated dialogues together with his accomplices  – totally like clowns putting on a monkey show, I totally dig that!  
  3. Retarded protocols such as telling a director and a shareholder of the company to meet the CFO of the company (who the hell is the CFO?  What is his name?) in the CFO’s office – Honestly dude, you got the hierarchy wrong.  Shareholder pays CFO’s salary, so CFO meets with Shareholder at the time of her convenience and on her terms! 
  4. Telling the Board of Directors that the Chairman and MD only do PR works, go to government and BOD meetings and NOT management meetings because he only reads Management Reports?  – Hell, aren’t you suppose to ‘manage’ the company.  Are you telling me, the MD only manages Directors?
  5. Shareholders and Directors are not allowed priviledged info – Hang on, Shareholders and Directors are to be kept in the dark without any knowledge of what their company is doing???

Hell!  Now you know what I mean, why I LOVE being at work in the office, lots of correspondences to write, tap, tap, tap, tapping on my keyboard and watching bad sketches.  An encounter with  tyrants/ retards/ idiots/ wankers…is FUN and really livens up the otherwise Boo-hoo-hoo Boo Town!

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Yes, I have digressed.  My trip to Bintangor… Can you imagine a bridge toll of RM5 per trip?  The trip is less than 1km long!  Penang Bridge costs less!  Who was the MP with the bad Elvis Presley  permed hair-do living in the ivory tower who approved that?  Let’s get the fact straight – RM10 per round trip is big money in The Boo.  Going by the kompia index, a bag of kompia, or Foochow bagels costs RM1 for 4 pieces and they are really filling…go figure!

So, the highlight of Bintangor is Bintangor Rojak from the famous No.7 Stall Wong Hung Ping at the Muslim food court.  This stall has been mentioned in newspapers as the selling the ‘Best rojak in Sarawak’!  A newspaper report is here

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Rojak:  A plate of pineapples, cucumber, pumpkins, Chinese gourd, deep-fried tofu and Chinese fried dough in sweet pungent caramelised fish sauce.  I especiallu liked the roasted peanut bits on top which gave the dish a wonderful aroma.  It is also very sweet.
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Fresh Coconut Water:  At RM3, very expensive.  This is old coconut, so the water is sweeter, with thicker,harder and creamier flesh

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Bintangor Oranges:  Sweet juicy oranges in green skins.  The size of grapefruits

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Bintangor Mandarins:  Sweet juicy mandarins in green skins.  The size of mandarins
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Read more on Bintangor here:

All in A Day’s Work, From Hong Kong to Kuala Lumpur

Date:  June 8 2013

I left Hong Kong today to KL for a couple of days of work-related layover before going back to  The Boo.  My week-long vacation in Hong Kong to visit my 99-yo gran has came to an end. It’s always hard to farewell gran as she is living alone in Hong Kong with her 2 maids, nevertheless, I promised her that I will be visiting her soon in a couple of months.

Since there were 3 of us catching the fight, each with suitcases and carry-ons, we took a taxi straight to the airport. The fare was HKD230 which was cheaper than the fare from KLIA to KLCC. Normally, I would catch a taxi to Tsing Yi station to board the Airport Express to HKIA.

Now, every travellers know that travelling is tiring and also takes a huge chunk out of our precious time. One has to be at the airport at least 2 hours early, allow enough time to go through immigration and security checks, then to hang around the departure hall to wait for the boarding time, then more sitting and eating on the plane, by the time one lands in his/her destination country, a day is wasted.  So here goes my day…

BRUNCH

The airport check-in was swift and I was soon having brunch at The Wings First Class Lounge with plenty of time to spare. I ordered Eggs Benedict with Salmon and a Long Black sans sugar.

The Eggs Benedict was a disappointment coming from The Peninsular Hotel catering. The poached eggs were hard, instead of hollandaise sauce that I was looking forward to, I had grilled parmesan on top of my poached eggs.  Instead of chewy muffins, I was offered rock-hard baguette. I also don’t fancy tomatoes because acidity from the light-shade family aggravates my arthritis.

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After brunch, it’s ‘Ribena bubblies’ time at the Bar. I never resist a glass (or maybe 2) of the elegant Billecarte-Salmon Brut Rosé Champagne. It’s a beautiful textured dry champagne with lively orange and strawberry flavors and a subtle note of spice cake.

LUNCH ON BOARD

The A330 flight from Hong Kong to KL took 3 hours and 15 minutes, as soon as I was settled, I was offered Billecarte-Salmon Brut champagne (again…) for my pre-flight refreshment.

To kill time, I watched ‘Jack and The Giant Slayers’ on my very tiny personal screen. I was thrilled when the screen ‘popped out’ automatically when I opened the arm rest cover until I was told that it was not on auto; simply that it’s getting old and overly used. Duh! Creening to watch the movie was a bit tiring, then again, the movie was good! So was the pre-lunch drink of French Burgundy, I was sampling and some almonds.and a bowl of Blue Diamond alomds which I don’t like. Buissonnier Bourgogne Cote Chalonnaise 2010 is full and ripe with character of grapefruit, lemon and citrus, and hints o of honeysuckle. Long clean finish.

Lunch was served soon after.  Since today was only a short flight, I opted out of my Raw Vegetarian Meal option, which is my standing order under my frequent flyer status.  I am getting  getting rather uninspired by the yellow and green capsicums, carrot and cucumber sticks, cut and diced in various ways. But if one is travelling long-haul, raw vegetarian is fantastic so you don’t feel weighed down and bloated from sitting on your butt and not moving for x hours.

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A file pic of a RVM I had (I don’t eat the muffin, if I am going strictly raw)

To drink:  Fleurie Cuvee Prestige Les Chambards 2011. This is widely considered the ‘Queen of Beaujolais’ since it is made with 100% Gamay grapes.  It is a beautiful wine with flowery notes with a touch of acidity for freshness.

For Starters:   Smokers peppered tuna Nicoise salad with tomato dressing.  Very well-done and delectably presented with water-cress,  semi-seared tuna slices on blanched tomato and Asian beans .  I especially liked the pairing of mouthwatering olives.

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For Vegs:  Mixed salad with pine nuts and green olives with French vinaigrette

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For Main:  There were 3 choices on-board.  I chose Braised duck with plum sauce, steamed jasmine rice and choy sum.  It’s a traditional Cantonese fare, so nothing to shout home about, it has 2 pieces of duck, tofu skin, choy sums and 2 pieces of taro in sweet soy sauce.

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I passed the cheese and fruit selection, instead, I had the Haagen-Daz ice-cream and pralines. Our flight touched down in KLIA at around 4:30pm. There was a huge crowd at the baggage claim and I guess with the ladies in black abayas, the Arabians are here for the summer again…

DINNER
A quick change and some light unpacking after, we headed for dinner at La Bodega, Pavilion, KL. I’ve passed this pub a few times but never made my way in but today, decided to give it a go.  The pub has a rustic feel of dark timber adorned with liquors, with lots of them displayed at the bar as well as on the ceiling rack (which I took a liking to – what a great space saver for a wine cellar!) and black and white photos and colours murals on the mirrors at the bar.

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Foodwise, the food was suprisingly good and the waiter was very attentive and gave good advise on how much to order (he said that he didn’t want his customers to complain about wasting food from over-ordering).  So upon, his recommendation, we ordered…

Lamb meatballs, which comes with a basket of bread to help soak up the starchy gravy

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Paella in squid ink and baby squid topped with garlic mayo and tiger prawns.  My mom told the waiter how much she enjoyed the paella and recalled the time when we had paella  in Valencia, Spain where the rice was not cooked properly.  We sent it back a couple of time to recook it, but it was still returned under-cooked.  It really takes an Asian to cook rice to accommodate the Asian taste

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To Drink:  A bottle of red from La Mancha.  I ordered this particular wine because it reminded me of my hike thru the La Mancha region in my Camino Santiago hike last year.  It was a tad dry, but the high Merlot content meant that it cut the fatty paella well to ‘cleanse the palate’ while the tempranillo gave it a more rounded fruity mouth-feel.

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We also saw a fellow passenger from our flight over from Hong Kong dining at the same pub.  It seems that Pavilion is the place to be in KL.  So did I waste my time in travelling?  Well, in terms of a worker’s productivity – Yes, but for some ideas for blogging – No!

PS:  My day did not end with the Spanish dinner, we went to Meet Fresh on the top floor of Pavilion for a Taiwanese dessert of Herbal Jelly with mochi on a bed of shaved ice and milk to wash away the effect of alcohol!

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