Monday, 17 December 2012

Guns and Roses

The world mourned the death of 20 innocent children and six brave people at the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootout recently.
Young lives, barely old enough to know what was happening in the school rooms were lost, all because one man decided to go on a rampage.
All it took to rob those precious lives in an instant were three guns; a semi automatic .223-caliber rifle and two pistols. All were owned by the shooter Adam Lanza's mother who was found dead in her home according to CNN reports.
The principal Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung , a school pyschologist Mary Sherlach and vice principal Natalie Hammond were the first to confront the killer Adam Lanza.
Only Hammond came back alive.
Hochsprung and Sherlach were not the only ones who laid their lives to save the children they were educating.
Victoria Soto,27, was said to have shielded her students from the killer. Some say she herded them into the closet and told Lanza they were in the gym.
Another teacher Anne Marie Murphy's body was found in a classroom, while Rachel D'Avino's and Lauren Rousseau's bodies were also found dead nearby.

Why did this have to happen and in US, we hear news of these kind of shootouts all the time. Is it necessary? Some say the law in US state that arms are legal and a right of every American. I would like know if these people have the right to take away lives.Lanza's aunt was reported saying that it is not the weapon that is at fault but the person wielding it.

"It's the person who does the killing, not the gun," she said. "I thank God every day that my kids have faith and know right from wrong -- and I'm not saying her kids didn't -- but you have got to give your kids roots," as reported by CNN.

Is this true?

Sometimes, no matter what a mother or father does, a child can go astray. I believe it is in the individual's hands to make the right decision but circumstances, mental stability and emotional imbalance can influence a man to make crazy decisions that just cannot be explained.
In Lanza's moment of weakness he decided to wield a gun (or three) but if the gun was not readily available would he have taken so many lives?

This week, the entire Newtown will be watching as each deceased child and adult is laid to rest. An act that could have been avoided, if guns were not easily available in US.

To the parents of these little angels, our prayers from Malaysia are with you. To the parents and families of the brave teachers, we are sorry for your loss but we are proud that you have nurtured such inspiring souls. God bless.

Lauren's photo

taken from Sandy Hook

Elementary School Massacre Memorial Page


                                                                                        Victoria Soto

                                                                                 taken from Sandy Hook

                                                                   Elementary School Massacre Memorial Page

Mary Sherlach

taken from Sandy Hook

Elementary School Massacre Memorial Page

                                                                                     Principal Hochsprung

                                                                                    taken from Sandy Hook

                                                                        Elementary School Massacre Memorial Page

These are just some of the heroes from the massacre. I did not have the heart to post the little angels' photos. Its heart wrenching.


                                                               Om Shanti. Rest in Peace

Saturday, 24 November 2012

To weddings, engagements and friendships

Well, well, well, what an exciting month it has been. Never in my right frame of mind would I have expected so many nuptials and happy moments in three weeks alone. Every weekend since the beginning of November has been a joyous, eventful and exhilarating experience.

It is amazing how many of my really good friends stepped into the next phase of life this month alone. It began with Marilyn's wedding on November 3 in Bukit Mertajam, Penang. Marilyn and I go way back in at Kolej Tuanku Abdul Rahman where we both enrolled in the Pre-University course. Since then we have had our share of ups and downs but I am glad we have managed to stay close friends till today. When Marilyn first announced that she would be marrying her then fiance (now husband) Paul Pretheben we were ecstatic for her. We knew Paul to be an amazing person, with a big heart and we always believed that the two were a match made in heaven by the good Lord himself.

Weddings are a great time to camwhore

We couldn't help it, Vasu and myself

Marilyn could not have chosen a better place to get married than the St Anne's Church in Bukit Mertajam. You see Vasugi, Buven and myself decided to travel from KL at 3am as soon as Buven arrived from Singapore. So when we reached the church on Saturday morning at 8am, we were blown away by the beauty of the church. Nestled in between a mountain or a hill (either way it was breathtaking), the church was enclosed by the early morning fog, amidst tall stone structures. We were thankful to be able to stay within the church compound in the hostel provided as we woke up the next day looking at the church. At the wedding service, Mal looked amazing in her beautiful white lace gown with a smile that lit up the church while Paul looked super cute with his white tuxedo. The mass itself was amazing, Vasugi and I could not back tears as Paul and Marilyn said I do. That was the beginning of a beautiful month for us.
The next week was Marilyn's dinner here in KL and Vasugi and I had a ball helping her and her family set up the tables and chairs. We saw the hall transform from nothing to a beautiful backdrop for the lovely couple. After a night of full on bhangra music we went home. For me the night was far from over.

St Anne's Church
The next morning was Pravin and Melanie's wedding, at the Kalamandapam in Brickfields. The two have been together for 11 years and decided to tie the knot, a decision we all were waiting for eagerly. I first met the two in my friend's home some 10 years ago. Back then, Pravin had a blue beard (ya people he was a hippie) and we did not hit it off really well... I have no idea why although Pravin I am sure will have a lot to say. :) Mel was a quiet sweet girl who accompanied Pravin and back then I had no idea we would grow to be such thick friends. THE day came, the hall decked in the colours of peacock, the theme they choose looked amazing. My sister and I arrived early, ready to usher Pravin into the hall to meet his bride. Pravin looked really traditional and handsome (for once :P) in his dhoti jippa while Mel was just picture perfect in her beautiful, purple, turqouise, and silver saree... Her flawless makeup only enhanced her pretty face. The wedding was also an opportunity for all of us friends to get together and wish our tanni partner goodbye... NO MORE TANNI sessions for u dei!! hahahaha.

Congrats Mel and Pravin

well we couldn't help it

After the excitement of Pravin and Mel's wedding in the morning, I rushed home, slept for an hour and woke up to get dressed for Annette and Suren's engagement at Kalamandapam again. Annette was our Uni mate who studied pyschology and is one of the sweetest people I know. Having done her degree, she continued on with her masters and is lecturing. One of the smartest girls I know, Annette has both intellect and beauty an awesome combination for any girl. For the engagement, she wanted the unmarried ladies to help carry the trays for Suren while Vasugi the only married one in the gang (Marilyn couldnt make it) to help her.
Suren is a quiet  but jovial person. The two love each other alot and this marriage will just make the love grow stronger i believe. We walked in accompanying Suren and I marveled at the simple yet elegant decorations Annette opted for. It reflected her tastes to the core.. Suren had a sherwani complete with a head gear and a red shawl and Annette wore a red saree with one of my favourite hair styling methods, lots of cascading jasmine flowers and three roses over neatly pinned up hair. Within minutes, another friend took the biggest step in her life.

Karen and Hema posing while waiting for Annette to arrive after changing her saree

Shyamala and Vijen doing the same

The following weekend was Pravin and Mel's dinner at the Cyberview Lodge Resort. Really pretty for outdoor weddings and parties, their's however was in the luxurious ballroom. Each chair had a peacock feather to match the theme. The girls came decked in long dresses while the men came all suited up. Pravin and Mel were colour coordinated and all perky, something I would recommend for all newlyweds. It is infectious. We danced the night away and continued at the after party.

Party all night long

That was the end of weddings and parties for this year and for me it served as a reminder that friendship is really something i treasure. The fun thing about friends' weddings are we get to be a part of their lives and you feel rather privileged to be given that honour. To my friends, here's a toast to your new lives. We wish you all the best and all the happiness in the world. :)

Friday, 21 September 2012

Goodbye my friend.. :)

Today marks the final day  at work for my friend Jayagandi Jayaraj. She has been with The Star for 10 years and the day has come for her to join her husband, Aloy in Qatar.

As a friend, I am happy that she is making a move to be beside her husband but at the same time, I realise that I will be missing someone really close to me. Life at Menara Star  would not be the same without her. There is just something about her that makes working fun there.

There is the endless laughter, since she has quite a funny side, complete with witty sarcasm (which i quite enjoy). She says things when you least expect it and it can be quite hilarious especially when she catches you off guard. Its amazing the way her mind works in a split second.

Then there is the passing fancies she has. Every couple of months, some wild idea or hobby creeps up on her. One month it could be beading, another hairbands, and now it is all about  plaits.. :) Yup. Jaya has been watching Youtube videos to create amazing braids for herself and everyone at the office. Her favourite muse is Choong Mek Zhin and once in awhile she would turn her attention on me or shall I say my hair. :)

Mek Zhin's attempt

Jaya's handiwork on my hair

Jaya's work on Fazleena's hair

But what I am going to miss most, is the sound of her voice, the way she calls my name out, Priya Menon, with a slight tug at the end. Having her around almost everyday since I started my journey in Menara Star early this year has been fun. I realised that talking to her, sharing information has been an insightful experience. She has a lot to share and she doesn't judge, two qualities a friend should have. While I am fortunate that all my colleagues in Star are the same, from the day I joined, I have had people like Bavani and Fazleena with me, but coming to Menara this year has brought new experiences as well, thanks to Jaya.

To Jayagandi Jayaraj, good luck with your new life in Qatar. Im looking forward to having fun with you  at the many farewell parties we have planned for you before you leave. Till we meet again on Facebook.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Famous Bak Kut Teh in Jalan Ipoh

Growing up in KL or shall I say Malaysia has given me the opportunity to relish some of the world's finest cuisine. Be it street food by the sidewalk or beautiful candle light gourmet meals, the options are aplenty and one of my favourites is the Bak Kut Teh, a local cuisine made by the Chinese community that can be found here and in Singapore.

This is our bowl of Bak Kut Teh after half the meal was over.
It looked awesome before we started but I was
too hungry to take the photos  first.. :)

So what is Bak Kut Teh? Since I am no expert  at the ingredients, ( I just love eating it) I sought the help of google. Well essentially, Bak Kut Teh roughly translates to Meat Bone Tea and it has pieces of pork meat and bones boiled in a broth with a lot of ingredients and herbs. When served, diners can opt to put in other stuff like vegetables and mushrooms.

Like every family we have our own special Bak Kut Teh shop and it is situated along Jalan Ipoh heading towards Chow Kit. It is the second shop from the left a few doors down from Ambank after the Damai Hospital ( I hope the description will help you find it). The Son In Bak Kut Teh shop is a small family run business and has been the talk of the town for years. Although there are two other Bak Kut Teh shops along the same row we feel that the soup and black sauce pork (i have no idea what the dish is called) is pretty delicious compared to the rest.

Sorry the photo is a little blur coz it was really dark and the signage was really bright.
To top it off I am not that great a photographer :p
As you walk in three brothers would be hard at work behind the stove and greeting guests. Although they take a little time to warm up to you, they treat you like old friends once they do. You can request for the vegetables, tauhu and mushrooms on the side or add it in the soup, the choice is yours and of course we cannot forget char kuey :). My siblings and mom prefer the black sauce pork dish but I am not a fan of that. However they swear by it so ya go ahead and try it out but let me say that this does not have dried chillies or anything in them so it may not be for everybody. Try a small bowl and order more if you like it. :)

Black sauce pork..

So if your in town and if you are looking for a little shop that serves tasty Bak Kut Teh do stop by.. :) 

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Xin Jia Po

Hello Peeps,
I know it has  been way tooooo long since my last post. Guilty as charged!!! But sometimes its a little tiring to type away on your computer, draining your creative juices in the day and coming home to write a blogpost at night. However rest assured, I will try to make amends, well more for myself  than anyone else (i mean u readers) :).

So here goes...

My last visit to the Lion City was when I was five. My parents took me and my lil sister on a holiday to experience life on the other side of the waters. So my memory of Singapore was pretty hazy until recently when my friends/colleagues suggested a three day trip to catch the Harry Potter Exhibition. My first impression? Way to go Neighbour!!!

While I am a patriotic  Malaysian (I love my country, would not be able to imagine life anywhere else), I must admit we can take a few hints from our friends. The minute our bus reached the check post at Johor Bahru, I was shocked by the simplicity or should I say outdated Immigration post. Saddened by the sight that greeted me, i braced myself for Singapore's immigration check point and I was flabbergasted. They even greeted us in style, the office was qell equipped with state of the art machines and looked fabulous albeit the monotonous officers checking our passports.

Then came the MRT station, it is a mirror image of the Hong Kong MRT stations. The trains are on time, people are disciplined and of course the maps are really good. It makes it easier for tourists like me ( a dummy with no information) to move about without fear of getting lost. The only problem for me was,
everybody was almost mechanical. No one had any expressions, no  one was bothered about the people next to them, no one showed emotions. That was pretty sad for me. We were on our own, four ladies and not a single smile.... Sigh....
Jade Chan enjoying her train ride

Our friends Jade  and Xin Yi did an amazing job at getting us our hotel. The 5 Footway Inn is a hostel located at Aliwal Street and  serves tourists from all over the world. The room may be a little small for some but for us it was quaint, clean and a place to rest our head every night. Conveniently Arab street was just nearby and proved to be a great place to shop and move about.
Faz and me on our bunk beds

Heading out for the Harry Potter Exhibition, we were excited (well maybe not Faz since she's not a fan), we hopped on to the train towards Marina Bay Sands.. Now I have heard plenty of stuff bout this place and the numerous Bollywood award shows that were held there just  made me more curious... I mean who wouldn't be? So anyways went we got there, I got the feeling that I was in 'i cant afford anything land'. hahaha am sure  i could afford something but ya... But the view from the bar (forgot d name of the club) is amazing!!!! loved dat!! Best of all was the Harry Potter Exhibition, stepping inside, I felt like I was part of the Magical World. Reading and watching the movies on the big screen just piqued my interest about the world behind the screens and the exhibition gave some answers and closure ( dramatic huh) :)

The view from Marina Bay Sands.. Out of this world


Next my favourite topic, food!!! Well I really cant tell the difference between Malaysian and Singaporean food. For me there is a fine line between the two. No insult meant for either country but ya... we share the same roots and our food must have meshed up somewhere along the lines... Places like Chijmes make eating and dining an experience to remember. Our simple gelato tasted fabulous.  Food in Singapore is just as great as Malaysia so thumbs up...
Gelato from Chijmes

So in short Singapore is an awesome place to hang out fr a couple of days.. I wouldn't stay too long but a short holiday is definitely a welcome break.. :)

Tuesday, 3 April 2012


It has been far too long since my last post. I promised myself I'd become a serious blogger but somehow I never find the time, between work, family and friends. Which made me realise, sometimes I need time for myself.

As I look back I realise that I have actually been on quite a few holidays since December last year. Although each was meant to be a relaxing one, I came home feeling tired but happy.

The first holiday was to my homeland Kota Kinabalu, Sabah in November last year. Although I was born there, my parents brought me back to homeland just months after leaving me with no memories of the land below the wind.Heading back there was both nostalgic and emotional... For weeks I could only think of my forthcoming holiday. Sabah is magnificient, I think it takes months and years to discover some of the hidden treasures this beautiful land has to offer. Thanks to my friend Gopi who is working at the Queen Elizabeth hospital, my friend Fazleena and I were given a glimpse of the place during the three days we were there.
A glimpse of Kota Kinabalu from the sky 

The Beautiful Beaches of Sabah

Next on the card was a little Penang trip I took with Gopi, his family and our friend Vimel from Aussie Land. The trip was a holy one to say the least as we planned it to coincide with the Thaipusam Festival that is quite the buzz in Penang. I must say it was a little dissapointing after all the hype associated with the celebrations in Penang. Even Gopi's father a hardcore Penangite said the festival lacked lustre this year. 

Nonetheless, we headed on, sampling famous cuisines along the way. Stopping every few hours to eat and explore new gastronomic delights. After years of traveling to Penang, Vimel and I finally made it up Penang hill and we pleasantly surprised by the view. Its Cameron Highlands in a smaller package. Nestled on top of the hill were a Mosque and another Subramaniam Temple.  Both structures have been built with much care over the years, providing residents and tourists a glimpse of the rich Malaysian heritage. 

Our main task in Penang was sampling the food

The beautiful Subramaniam temple up on Penang Hill

My final holiday as of March this year was a sojourn cum business trip I took with my aunts to Hyderabad city in India. Hyderabad a bustling city the state of Andra Pradesh is a largely Muslim populated town but getting around is a breeze as most of them speak Hindi and English. We were also lucky as one of my aunts live in Hyderabad so she took us around making traveling a breeze. The heat in the dessert like town was really unbearable and most women were forced to cover their mouth and face with shawls and for a touch of sophistication, many wore sunshades to beat out the glare and look cool doing it. Shopping there might not be for everyone but if you look close enough you might find a thing or two at the General Bazaar. I must admit throughout my one week sojourn, I enjoyed my auto rides more than anything (well besides my aunt's cooking). Since there were four of us at least at any one time, I was forced to sit on my aunt's lap or next to the auto driver. If I was given the chance I would have definitely loved to try my hand at driving the auto. However I must admit, only the bravest, fittest and fearless of all drivers should try driving around in Hyderabad, the land with no traffic rules. 

Auto ride

U will definitely find eager salesmen like this one showing off the sarees

This is how  you go out in Hyderabad... :)

All in all, I must say, each holiday has been a blessing. Bringing with it, new experiences, friends and memories. Although my time may be occupied by other more pressing things. These little short holidays make it all worthwhile. :)

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Mum's the word

These past two weeks, I have learnt that the saying 'You never know how much you miss someone until they are gone", is absolutely true.
I have always appreciated my mum for the woman she is, the mother who raised three children on her own all while facing various adversities. When we were kids, she toiled at work during the day and came home to make a meal for us, little brats.
As we grew older, her responsibilities at work grew, forcing her to cook only on weekends. We tried to do our own chores to ease her burden but every little gesture was never enough. Kids as we were, we didn't understand her hardship.
Then as time passed, we tried to help out more, but excuses got in the way. Studies became a priority. Assignments, classes, friends topped the to-do lists. And we forgot...
Now we have slowly started to chip in again at home but the full blown force of my mothers work at home hit us after she went off on a three week vacation earlier this month.
She decided to go on a holiday to Australia after much thought with her aunt, our grand aunt or granma as we prefer to call her.
cited for her, we urged her to enjoy her trip, forget all about us and let loose. In our glee, we didn't realise that we would grow up these three weeks.
Eager to prove to her that we would be okay with her gone, we jumped straight into chores. I decided to try cooking to make up for the home cooked food we would miss with our mum's absence.

Mum's home cooked meals are the best

Well I must say although the food my sister and I prepared was not up to mum's standard, it was edible, some were quite tasty in actual fact.

Our very own Tom Yum Soup

Then came the cleaning; vacumming, washing the bathrooms, mopping the floors, throwing garbage, sweeping the front porch... etc... the list goes on. All three of us took turns to do everything knowing that neither would survive doing all of these things alone..
It is now we understand how much she does for us and for that we will always be grateful...
My only hope is that we will continue these little chores that take up so much time and effort so that it will give mumsie some time off...

We miss you amma.. Have fun while your there but we can't wait for you to come home... :)

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

The New Year

Hello frens,
So here we are 11 days into the new year. So far I have only seen positive shout outs from my friends on FB. I guess it is too soon to start lamenting just yet.
My new year has been fairly simple. This year like every other year, I spent the eve at home with my mum minus the siblings who were out having fun. Then mom goes on a well deserved holiday to Sydney Australia with granma and I start to realise that damn Mummy did lots of stuff at home.. Thank god for Brother and Sister dear who gave me a hand or I would be screwed!!!
Thank God for Siblings
Anyways setting chores and responsibilities aside, this year also brought with it old friendships. For years, I have only had the pleasure of hanging out with my female college mates since we went on to the same university and still keep in touch each week. I miss the good old days with my guy friends who used to rock my TARC days, enlightening me on various teenage issues that I was unaware of. They made me realise there is a whole new world outside. After we left college, we only kept in touch via Facebook. Thank god for that. But its never the same is it? Talking over the phone or chatting can never make up for the fun we have when everyone is around. The beginning of this year spelt a reunion for five of us Tinnesh, Kelvin, Benny, Alric and Me. After a quick dinner with the boys minus Benny, we headed over to Temptations in Changkat for an awesome night. We never looked back since. We are planning on a holiday together and I cant wait.. :)

Benny and Me
Kelvin and Me
Alric and Me

Next comes the more important thing in life "Marriage..." This year seems to be "THE" year for most of my friends... A number of them are getting married and man that is absolutely freaky. While I am happy for them, it scares me to think we may never be the same people again, change is bound to happen. Then again this simply means, we are mature and responsible enough to move on to the next stage in life and I am proud of my friends, Vasugi (who tied the knot in Dec), Vijenthi, who will follow suit in March, Tinnesh also in March, Hema (who will be getting engaged in May) and Marilyn who will be getting hitched in Dec. To you my friends I say good luck and all the best.

Vijen (right), Marilyn (second frm right) and Hema (third from right) will be off the marriage mart

Vasugi and Vinod at their wedding

To all of you,
Have a wonderful year ahead. Do not lose hope, do not grieve for losses, do not let failures dampen your spirits. Always remember everything happens for a reason.