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Saturday, January 19, 2008

Sleeping Before 1a.m.

At the beginning of January, BG and I evaluated our New Years Eve celebration on the phone. (We like to evaluate all our activities in great detail. Sometimes our talks are even longer than the actual events!) Then we decided to set out our new year's resolution. Reading back on my 2007 resolutions, I cannot imagine what I was thinking back then so this year, I wanted the resolutions to be beneficial and somewhat achieveable. I think I should admit here that I write new year's resolutions mostly for the fun of it and not 100% because I spend my whole year slaving over them.

So anyways, I suggested one of my last year's resolution for both BG and me, but we modified it: "Aim to sleep before 1a.m. -For the nights I'm not out." I added the last remark to make it realistically achieveable. And it's not like I'm out much anyways, so it's ok.

Usually I'm not one to broadcast my resolutions, but since I think some of you out there might benefit from it, I thought I would share it and maybe you would consider it too. I take skincare pretty seriously. After washing my face at night, I always put on eye moisturiser, (I'm currently using the two in the picture above.) And while this may seem like the norm to many of you, I know people who actually don't use eye moisturiser. Anyways, so in the past few years, I usually go to bed from 2am-6am -not exactly healthy. There are always emails to check, youtube to watch, Facebook to stalk (uh hum, BG,) random sites to surf, books to read...... You get my point.
And while it was totally fine and not os obvious when I was younger, I've noticed that when I sleep very late now, the skin around my eyes have starting to age. Think dark circles, puffy eyebags and most scarily, fine lines. So in an attempt to stop all these from happening so soon (-I'm not that old!), I have decided to really try sleeping before 1, or erm, maybe at 2.
What are your beauty-related New Year resolutions?

Friday, January 18, 2008

Light-Coloured Blazer With Black Satin Lapels

Hey, so you may have noticed that the blog has been on a short standstill. BG is currently enjoying a chilled, though rainy holiday in Sydney. As for me, I've been MIA for a week because the thingy that gives off the wireless broadband signal broke down at home! (I feel the need to explain because my friend, J was nice enough to make sure I was alive on Facebook, and to apologise for sending out panicked texts and emails from the library to some friends.) So basically, I've been living in an Internet-less environment for 5.5 LONG days. Very long days. I don't know about you, but I'm extemely Broadband-dependent. After digging out all the wires at home and attempting all possible ways to access the Internet and failing, all I thought was, OMG how am I going to survive? Omg, save me. The situation was somewhat like the situation descibed in this NYT article.

So obviously, I finally have broadband wireless at home, (thank goodness!) and can blog again. Today's post is about one of my favourite item of clothing, the blazer. Specifically, light-coloured blazers with black satin lapels. I'm not 100% sure that the black bits are called lapel but I basically mean the collar and the flap of fabric along the V-neck. (Yes, I know I lack fashion knowledge.)

Even though I only own one black blazer, I realised that black blazers sometimes look too boring or formal for casualwear. So when I saw this Marc by Marc Jacobs blazer I really wanted it. It's so sleek, well-cut and cool. And since it's cropped, the length looks really flattering and perfect. Unfortunately it costs 398USD -well above my budget for a not-too-practical blazer. If you think about it, white jackets get dirty really easily, and this blazer is definitely not one for the worn-out look.

After searching awhile, I found another one. This one is by Lux at Urban Outfitters. OK, so it's not white and doesn't look as sleek as the Marc one. Just in case the picture isn't clear, it's light grey and has grey stripes on it. But at 55 pounds, it's way more affordable and worth it for casual-going-out wear.

What does everyone think of these blazers?

Image credit:,

Random thoughts on random films

28 Weeks Later

One of the better films of last year and a genuinely scary horror film. It's also a sad meditation (when it actually slows down for you to meditate on things) on the secrets a father keeps and the feeling of loss and isolation. The scene in the subway is one of the scariest I have seen. Great horror film.

The Lookout

Scott Frank is one of the best screenwriters in Hollywood (Out of Sight, Minority Report) and with his first time directing, The Lookout is one of the better thrillers of recent memory. Interested more in the psyche of its characters rather than on bank heists, shootouts, and car chases, it was one of the biggest surprises of last year. It reminded me just how talented he is, as it ranks among his best film and is an intelligent thriller with a tremendous eye and feel for pacing and a great ear for dialogue (just like Out of Sight and Minority Report.) Check it out.

Talk to Me
and The Hoax

I love biopics. Especially ones about people I didn't know much about. These two films are flawed, but have great performances surrounding them and offered insight into two lives of people I knew nothing about. Petey Green and Clifford Irving are extraordinary characters who talk fast and have to think fast. In Kasi Lemmons' Talk to Me Petey is one of the first FM morning DJ's and it is apparent that he paved the way for such shock jocks as Howard Stern and the countless morning shows now found on the FM dial. Also, the scene where the radio station learns of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination is both touching and a pitch perfect delivery by Don Cheadle in one of his best performances. The Hoax is a flawed film, but Richard Gere is so good and the material so intriguing that you forgive its shortcomings. Clifford Irving lied to everyone (even himself) in order to convince people that he was the main man behind the definitive Howard Hughes biography. The ending veers off into A Beautiful Mind territory, and that's too bad, because the film is at its best when it Irving is thinking on his feet and just barely being able to convince his publishers and himself that he is a successful writer, writing the book of the century.

The Simpson's Movie

My favorite show and the greatest show of all time hits the big screen in what is essentially an hour and twenty minute episode. Although the technique and the jokes play much bigger. Beautiful animation by the entire crew (most likely headed up by David Silverman and Jim Reardon) as they are able to do things they just don't have time for on television: Long shots, tracking shots, longer reveals leading to better pay offs for the jokes, etc. Is it worth 15 years plus of waiting? I don't know, sure. It's not as if it's as disappointing as say X-Files: The Movie. I mean I am not that big of a nerd right, I have only watched it three times (with commentary.) Now maybe Al Jean can get back to making the show consistently funny.

---- Movies I still haven't seen that I need to in the next couple of weeks: There Will Be Blood, Breach, and yes...Pathfinder (see post below.) Also, I want to check out the new Director's Cut of Zodiac (my pick for the best film of the year, again, see posts below.)

She Likes to Party!

Thank you so much for your love and amazing support! I have received so many awesome wishes and messages of encouragement after receiving a nomination for a Hoopies award.

Thought it only fair that I share the REAL clip from the song I used for my hooping video.

Party All the Time by Sharam

and the inspiration, the original! Rock it Eddie.

Thursday, January 17, 2008



Did you know there are two official Valentine's Day occasions in Japan? February 14 is the first gift giving occasion, on this day girls and ladies across the land show their love and appreciation with yummy gifts. Often chocolates or homemade sweets will be given as a sign of thanks or affection.

The guys in this country get a great deal because they are given one month to find a gift to reciprocate their feelings. White day is March 14, this day is often a day when gifts are passed from the guys to the girls.

We think everyday is LOVE day but two official celebrations is a pretty good deal!

Mr. Lau Kah Chui Giving a Speech

My maternal grandfather was a very quiet and humble man who allowed everyone to step all over him. He was always played the second fiddle to his older brother, Lau Kah Tii, the Kang Chu who lived in the huge Lau Mansion in Ensurai. Many people said that he was very hen pecked too, as my maternal grandmother called all the shots. Athough I never knew him, I thought he was just being a kind, polite man and very stoical to maintain peace with everyone.

My mother and uncles and aunties all loved him to bits. Unfortunately he died young after suffering from probably pneumonia during the Japanese Occupation when money was scarce as the rubber price had hit rock bottom and one or two doctors were not in the habit of doing charity. And the hospital in Sibu was too far away.

As a young man, he was bullied by his older brother, as was normal. One example was that he had to carry a lot of stuff on his pian dan, and his older brother would just walk ahead and greet every one along the village road.

His profession was tailoring. And he made a lot of clothes for others and was very good with the sewing machine.

According to our family stories, he donated a piece of land to build the community primary school , Kai Nang primary school, a sister school of Kwong nang the forerunner of SMK Chung Cheng, at the back of hills (au san) and we were all proud of it. To be able to donate money or a piece of land to build a school was the apex of wealth at that time.

Because my grandfather was not as educated as the others and not as prominent as others, he was only given the honorary post of treasurer of the the school board of directors. His older brother,being the prominent community leader, was the Chairman. Perhaps it was the courtesy then to do so,by way of seniority.

During the opening ceremony of Kwong Nan Primary school, the Chairman made a grand speech. Followed by another grand speech by the secretary.

By the time it was my grandfather's turn to speak, apparently all materials had been covered. He appeared to have nothing to say.

But he made a brilliant speech using metaphors, "Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for coming today to this grand occasion, it is especially meaningful for my family and my self. I am proud that I can donate this piece of land to build this lovely school, which all of you accept graciously. Thank you for accepting it. I am afraid, the two gentlemen have already spoken and have covered all the important points. Therefore you have already been served the sharksfin , and abalone, of the feast. I have not much to offer you except kangkong (un chai)...." When he came to this point, the audience gave him a big applause. This was perhaps the only public speech he made in his life.

Not long after that, he passed away.

The Sarawak Hotel

The Sarawak Hotel has been owned by the Wong family from the very beginning. Being the first fine hotel, with air conditioning it created a lot of interest. And I am sure there are lots of fantastic stories involved. It was indeed a very pleasant hotel and was run in a nice colonial way without a lot of the modern amenities of today.

However, I am writing about it because I have never stopped loving the idea of a rooftop dance floor, which made the hotel very unique in Sarawak and perhaps in Malaysia!!

When the hotel first opened, I was just a dreamy eyed young girl with lots of imagination. And of course my friends and I dreamed dreams of Prince Charming coming to sweep us off our feet, and the dance floor on the roof top was the perfect setting for such romantic dreams.

Mr. Wong's sisters went to school with me, and I am still in touch with one of them, after more than 40 years!!

Several significant facts must be clarified here.

First of all, Mr. Wong's father has the best step mother Sibu has ever known.

Secondly, Mr. Wong's family also planted the first orchid garden in Sibu.

Thirdly, Mr. Wong's family home in Sibu was situated in Sg. Merah where the Foochows first landed in1901.

Mr. Wong has maintained a strong love for Sibu and his hotel business. A pillar of the business world, Mr. Wong has always maintained a certain dignity. And I believe that the Foochows should accord him a lot of respect for his courage and loyalty to the Sibu community.

Here are the juicy bits about the roof top dance floor from the gossips I gathered from older relatives who hanged out on Saturdays with their business friends. In the 50's and 60's there were still some remnants of the colonial government officers, some British naval and army officers, and of course the usual bank managers. Some would bring their wives to dance on a Saturday night and there were many ladies of the night who were available for picking up in the various coffee shops.

The British ladies would be wearing their white high heeled shoes and carrying their white hand bags. The local ladies would have their gold or silver strappy sandals and extremely tight waisted clothes. Some would be wearing their wide biased cut skirts, with stiff underskits. When they danced they would shriek and shout, twist and shake their bums to the gay and lively tunes coming from the local band playing at the eastern end of the roof top. I was told that one of the Malay saxophonists was really but unfortunately he was not discovered by any talent scout and never made it to cut an EMI record.

But the British ladies would demurely dance away to cha cha numbers. They would do a few foxtrots and waltzes.

While writing this up, I can still hear the very politically incorrect song in my head, "Rose, Rose, I love you...." about a sailor leaving behind his Malayan girl friend because east is east and west is west.....


For old times' sake here's the address for friends and relatives who might like to stay in this old nostalgic place: Or go and see the first lift in Sibu.

Sarawak Hotel
34, Jalan Lintang /Cross Road, 96000 Sibu, Sarawak, Malaysia.
Tel: 60-84-333455

Durians,Dabai,Mangosteens,Langsat, Keranji Season

IN those long ago days, when motor launches plied the Rejang River, and Ibans brought down their harvests of annual fruits from Kapit after a two day and one night slow journey, Sibu became alive with loud bargains for the precious durians, dabai, mangosteens, langsat and others at night along Pulau Babi.

Pulai Babi has always been known as Pulau Babi. The name came from the fact that pigs were slaughtered at the end of the Sibu town in that particular place, where the River Lembangan joins the giant Rejang River.

There were three things associated with Pulau Babi.

Firstly, it was the place where many pigs were slaughtered according to most oral stories.

Secondly, it was the idea site for landing of boats, goods and local products like engkabang and rubber. the further part was called the Kapit Jetty, followed by the coastal jetty. Other river village boats and motor launches would be berthed nearest to the Chinese Temple.

Thirdly, it was place where prostitution flourished. Little stalls or warongs, would be the pick up places for these ladies of the night and their men friends. Some how one could always tell which of the ladies could be approached for a fee. And very often, in order to meet a client further from the jetty, some of these ladies would happily sit in a trishaw heading towards a hotel in another part of the town.

Later in the evenings, families would gather to buy the local fruits like durians and dabai. Hawkers and vendors, and even fruit owners, would just trade from their huge baskets. All they needed were a few basketful of fruits, a scale and some pastic bags. And their business would go on until the fruits were finished. During the fruit season, no one needed a licence to operate their business. And they could trade up till midnight even.

furthermore, the trading was brisk and no one would really be competiting with another. Even though every man was for himself, business was so good that no one would be jealous of each other.

Those days could really be called Free Trade Time.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Raw Pot Luck Party

It was RAWsome!
RAW potluck party

On Saturday night while Masao was out partying in Omotesando I chilled with amazing souls at Tokyo's gorgeous raw food restaurant, Veggie Paradise.

I had been to Veggie Paradise once before, for a delicious lunch after breaking my cleansing fast. This time, Yuki the owner of the restaurant was generous enough to allow us to use the upstairs space for a pot luck party.

Raw Pot Luck Party
A healthy and hearty feast! If you are in Tokyo and would like to experience some raw power check here for the next "party".

Wild Pigs and Loose Logs in the River

Wild pigs or wild boars were plentiful in those days.

Foochow families could buy wild boar meat in several ways: from the corner stalls near the poultry market along Channel Road in Sibu, from Iban friends who would peddle the meat from the back of the hills (au san) to the river front,from long boats driven by the Ibans themselves,or from their own hunting. The last was rather rare because not many Foochows had guns of their own, partly because of government control and the unnecessary purchase of a gun anyway.

Eating wildboar meat was not really a common every day practice. My grandmother had this principle : if there is wild boar meat, eat, if not, then we won't eat. So having it on the table was really far in between. We had free prawns and fish from the river, chickens and ducks from the farm, pigs if we had the occasion to slaughter and the occasional fresh beef whenever grandmother or uncle went to Sibu. So protein was plentiful indeed.

My uncles and grandmother operated a smoke house to cure rubber sheets. And it was a great event to have rubber tappers coming and camping outside our huge house by the riverside in Sg. Maaw. Each year, we would have two or three sessions of smoking of the rubber sheets and it was like festival time.

Below the smoke house were pieces of wood cut from logs already very well dried. If we were short of wood, the nearby Lee Hua Sawmill would be able to supply the "broken pieces of ramin", free in fact for our use, and we only had to collect them, using a boat, again free of charge.

It was a remarkable cooperative movement whenever it was time for us to smoke the rubber sheets. My grandmother's stove would be burning and the tables would be full of food for all the rubber tappers. Of course they would have brought their presents, to contribute to the meals, like one or two chickens, salted vegetables, salted eggs, ducks, and the ubiquitous condensed milk and eggs.

One remarkable practice that we had at that time was the making of lard just before a large group of people came to our house. My uncle would put all the slices of pig fat into his huge kuali and we would wait patiently for the crispy, crunchy and marvellous Yew Char, or oily or fat crunchies, our version of potate crisps of the day. At each making of lard, my uncle could have about three kilos or four kilos. that would last for sometime. Hence we seldom had to buy cooking oil which we needed only for deep frying purposes.

Our cousins would scan the river for any black mark in the distance and be on the ready to "capture" the loose logs in the river. Our small sampan was always tied to the jetty (or douh tou). High tide was an exciting time because there would certainly be a few logs floating down from upriver. These logs or marang (batang) would have been fallen trees from upstream Rejang. Some would have the loose logs from the sawmills' rafts.

We had a common rule that whoever reached the log first, they would be the rightful owner of the log. But occasionally quarrels would ensued. So pedalling a small little prahu or sampan was a great determined skill. Our smoke house and daily needs depended so much on that skill. sometimes two or three boats would race towards the logs from all directions. Only the most determined rower would get the log. Getting one was like getting the lottery. Today, one of the best rowers amongst my cousins is a well known entrepreneur - an honest, intelligent and hardworking road construction leader in Sibu who practises good corporate ethics and management principles.

On capturing a log, a hook would be nailed at one end of it and a rope would be tied on it. And slowly the triumphant party would head for our own jetty with the log in tow. The log, if fairly big is quite adequate for a day's fire for smoking. Very often we have a huge stack of seven or eight logs left near the yard of the smoke house for drying in the sun. We had to make sure that they were all above the tide level. It could have been so easy for the high tide to take the logs away again!!

One day we saw several dots in the distance and we got on to the prahu and peddled as fast as possible towards them. We were shocked that it was a huge party of wildboars swimming across the river!!

My oldest cousin made a quick decision only to hit the head of the pig nearest to him,using his paddle. Unfortunately we did not have a parang with us. As the pigs were focussed on swimming towards the shore, the dazed pig was very quickly roped and soon we managed to strangle the animal a little. It was quite an ardous task for a bunch of uninitiated children in the art of jungle living. Days later we realised how dangerous it was for us to make a kill like that.

The pig was fairly big and we had meat to share with the rubber tappers and nearby relatives.

That was the only time in my life that I saw a family of pigs swimming. With all the logging, economic development and other forays into the rainforest, this kind of scenario would probably in the recesses of one's mind, or a scene in a Disney film.

But I truly treasure those days of capturing logs in the Rejang river for our smoke house. And like a bonus, we got a pig for our kuali.

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Cozy Gloves

To protect our hands in the chilly winter (they are one of the coldest extremities!) a pair of cozy gloves is an essential investment.
Having grown up in the subtropics all my life, I never really needed to wear gloves. So when I went the States, I got really excited and thought, "Yes! Now I can finally wear all those cute woolen gloves with the matching hats that they sell from Ralph Lauren!" I even bought a matching pink cable knit beanie, scarf and gloves in preparation! Unfortunately, when I finally got to the windy city, I realized that the measley protection that my woolen mittens were not enough. Not only were my fingers numbed from the cold, but the gloves got WET (from the snow) and made my hands even colder! (Above: RL)
And so I finally decided to invest in a pair of more serious gloves. My attention turned to leather gloves, because they were waterproof and they looked fitted enough that I'd be able to kinda utilize my fingers. I finally settled on a pair from Marshall Field's with serious looking lambswool lining (it was fluffy looking). They've served me well for the last three years. Recently, I also bought a pair of leather gloves with faux fur lining from Milan cause it was on sale, it looked so sleek and the fur lining inside felt soo nice and divine (almost real like!). Though they've both served their purpose for me so far, but I have to admit, on occasions when I'm outdoors in the negative degrees for too long, my hands and fingers still get numb from the cold afterwards! (Above: RL)
This made me wonder how people survived wearing those thin lined leather gloves of cashmere, silk and fleece when my very serious fluffy ones don't quite do the job! My friend who owns a pair that is lined with cashmere, claims that the warming properties of cashmere does the trick- even better than faux fur. She let me tried her gloves for 10 seconds and it felt warm enough, but I'm still skeptical. It just doesn't make logical sense for me! I know cashmere is extra warm, but ultimately it is still really really thin. Can it possibly top the job of many many layers of fluff? (Left: RL, Right: Saks)
Oh and if you like to build snowmans, go skiing or have a snowball fight i.e. anything that involves direct contact with snow, a pair of very very serious waterproof super fluffed up North Face style gloves is probably a good idea. I made the mistake of going skiing with my first pair of leather gloves and the leather was positively ruined (in my defense, it was my first time skiing and I didn't see the point of getting a pair just for half a day of skiing). After that, since they were ruined anyway, I tried to build a snowman with those gloves (snowman building is SO much harder than it looks on tv!). After an hour not only did my snowman looked pathetic (the snow just wouldn't pack!), but my fingers were beyond frozen and numb- it was burning! How I wish I had a pair of these at that moment........(Above: North Face)

Image Source: Saks, Ralph Lauren and Nordstrom

Monday, January 14, 2008

Hoopies 2008 are holding their first annual Hoopies awards.

GUESS WHAT? I have been nominated and chosen as one of five Outstanding Newbie Hoopers (Started in 2007)

You can VOTE FOR ME and a range of talented and inspirational other hoopers across the globe @ Each hooper or hoop group has a link so you can check out their amazing skills and passion.

Thank you so much to and all other hoopers for your inspiration and constant support.

Thank you to you for being my power (and voting for me, of course!!)

Hoopy love

SPF Hand Cream

*Gasp* I just read the most horrifying article in this issue of Elle (Feb, p190): Gloves Off, where the writer goes to investigate the newest procedure for hand rejuvenation. The doctor basically injected *wince* her hands with the latest plumpers, Radiesse, which is supposed to be more long lasting. The after effect was her hands looked 10 years younger as it lessened the ropey appearance of her veins and filled out the hollow spaces between her tendons. A few hours later however, her hands were swollen and in pain- which apparently is perfectly normal and lasted for about a week. Apart from that she later found out that if they hit the wrong place, injecting these things into your hands will also lead to permanent swelling *shiver*.

After THAT horrifying article, I realized that in my craze to buy sunscreens for my face, I'd forgotten about my hands- which in all respects are exposed to sunlight as much as my face is! Sunscreens from all sources is after all the one most effective way we can protect ourselves from aging. And so I've decided that it is time I got myself some hand cream with SPF! In my googling I realized that there really weren't that many hand creams with SPF. But here are a few that I've found. On the high end, there is Lancome and Clarins.
In the medium range, there are Kiehl's and Boots. I think I may try the Kiehl's one, because it also claims that it is, "Unusually rich but not greasy at all," which sounds intriguing. But then again it only has SPF 10.
And in the drugstores, we have our ever trusty Neutrogena and Dove brand of SPF sunscreen.
I wonder how much SPF is sufficient for the hands...most of the ones listed here have SPF 15 (besides Dove with SPF 5 and Kiehl's with SPF 10).

Image Source: Clarins, Kiehls, Sephora, Boots

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Cloverfield Monster Concept

Could this cthullu looking thing be the Cloverfield monster. A reliable source says "yes."
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