April 2012 - Narcissism is Necessary

Archive | April, 2012

Three blog posts in one, yeah!

I’ve got a lot of things to blog about but was suffering from blogger’s block since coming back from Vietnam almost 2 weeks ago.

I suspect it was caused by my time there visiting communes affected by hunger. It was such an intense experience, it exhausted me both physically and mentally.

Of course there were a lot of wonderful moments during the trip, like when we visited a primary school. Amenities in the school were basic at best but the kids were happy and you could tell they were so pleased to even have the opportunity to be there, even at such tender age.

Many of their peers were probably helping their parents in dangerously located farms planting low yielding crops like cassava :(

# – Cute primary school children who were my “chicks” when we’re playing “Eagle Catches Chicken” game (I was mummy hen).

I think I was also a little terrified by the idea of writing about what I saw in Vietnam. I don’t think one blog post could ever do justice to the hunger situations there but I will try my best (later, when I sit on it a little longer).

+++++++

Attended the hubs‘ office party for the first time last weekend. It was Bollywood themed so I busted out the “Lehenga” I bought in Hyderabad. Finally, found an occasion to wear it. I was pleased…it’s got drawstring skirt so I could eat, loads, MUAHAHAHHAA.

# – Wearing lehenga for the first time.

Must say I rather sucked at keeping to the theme because I totally forgot about the long scarf and bangles. Luckily, bindi and bangles were given out free at the party. Yay!

# – Eventually got my bangles, bindi and masala lemonade on. Photobomber was Gareth’s colleague, Daniel.

I was also wearing makeup for the first time since my Lasik surgery. IT WAS GREAT!

# – Gareth trying to wear a bangle -____-. He was like, “eh all the bangles same sized one does it mean all women have similarly sized wrists?”.

+++++++

Have converted my old claims record booklet into an outlet of negativity. Basically, whenever I feel like ranting or saying something passive aggressive etc, instead of verbalising, tweeting or blogging it, I will just write it in the booklet.

# – My buku 666.

Someone asked me on Twitter if it was some sort of spiritual healing exercise. I guess so.

Recently, I’ve found myself getting increasingly impatient with tweets that are angry, negative, snide, self-absorbed, patronising, you know the drill.

I know everyone has the right to express their emotions/opinions but personally, these tweets put a downer to my day. Probably a lot more severe than anyone could believe.

So if you happened to realise I have unfollowed you on Twitter, it’s nothing personal. Feel free to unfollow me if it matters.

Stay happy!

Posted in: Random Musing - Continue Reading

Our holiday in Pulau Weh (Sabang), Sumatra, Indonesia.

Thank you Joyce for blogging about Pulau Weh, otherwise I wouldn’t have thought of going there for Gareth‘s birthday in March. We had such an amazing 5 days!

Pulau Weh or Sabang by the locals, was surprisingly easy to reach. First, an hour flight from KL to Banda Aceh via AirAsia. If you’re flying in before March, you would have to stay a night in Banda Acheh.

Depending on your citizenship you may have to pay for 30 day visa (at the visa-on-arrival booth in the airport), which is 25USD at time of writing. You can pay in rupiah as well. Malaysians need not worry about the visa as we and the Indonesians are friendly.

Since we flew in after March, we didn’t need to stay overnight in Banda Acheh so we took a 1/2 hour taxi ride straight to Ulee Lheu ferry port. Taxi services are abundant at the airport, about 100,000Rp on average.

However, we got ours for 120,000Rp which was considered a bit expensive after chatting with some locals but we were okay cause it was a large air-conditioned van which 6’5″ Gareth could sit comfortably in. We also arranged for the same fella to take us back to the airport.

# – Ulee Lheu ferry port, 1/2 hour taxi ride from Sultan Iskandarmuda Airport.

From the airport, you would probably reach just in time for the slow ferry which would take 2 hours to reach Sabang. Instead of boarding the slow ferry, we decided to linger about at the port and have some lunch while waiting for the express 1-hour ferry at 4pm. The tickets for the express ferry started selling around 3pm. You can get discounts for buying a return trip ticket. We got 2 pairs of return executive tickets which basically meant air-conditioning for 220,000Rp.

# – Gareth’s first meal in Acheh. Some awesome mixed rice from a stall filled with locals.

# – My very first Teh Botol and Mee Goreng Acheh (Achehnese fried noodles). Yums!

# – One of the locals drinking coffee from a saucer because the coffee cools down quicker this way.

People are really friendly in Banda Acheh! Seriously, it’s the only place where I’ve been winked back at by a kid after winking at one. Normally they just start crying or shy away as if I’m a serial murderer.

People are always smiling and saying hi. At first I thought it’s because we’re tourists, but we quickly realised that they do it to everybody! On the road, they honk at every passing vehicle not out of warning or anger but just because they want to say hello. It’s nice!

# – The ferry was quite comfortable. We slept the entire journey.

Upon reaching Sabang Port, we had to take a taxi for a half hour journey to Pantai Sumur Tiga, where our hotel, Casa Nemo is located.

Pantai Sumur Tiga is the longest beach on Pulau Weh and is the quietest side of the island. Our man was Lehman (known as Lehman Becak), a friendly guy who charges really cheap (only 50,000Rp). We were shocked at first that our “taxi” was really just a motorbike rickshaw (we had two pretty large luggage) but the experience of riding on one through the villages, up and down the hills of picturesque Sabang was truly fantastic!

There are cars and mini buses (called labi-labi) but I highly recommend taking the bike rickshaws to get around on the island.

# – Lehman Becak.

# – Gareth’s happysauce face on Lehman’s rickshaw.

Our hotel, Case Nemo is located at one end of Pantai Sumur Tiga. What a beautiful place! The chalets are perched on the hillside overlooking the Andaman Sea. Peaceful, quiet and romantic :)

# – Nice & spacious room.

# – View from our balcony.

# – Cows & goats roam free. Really felt very close to nature.

By the time we settled down, it was already evening. We jumped into the sea for a bit before heading next door to Freddie’s for dinner, a 5 minute walk away. Casa Nemo’s kitchen only serves breakfast but we’re told by Ferdy the manager that it will be ready for lunch and dinner in a couple of months time.

The next day, we engaged Lehman Becak again for an island tour (250,000Rp). He took us to an active volcano. It’s my first time seeing and being at an active volcano!

# – The volcano, Gunung Merapi. That place smelled like rotten eggs and it was really warm.

We also stopped by several spots with hot water springs. Then, we stopped at a quaint restaurant in Gapang for lunch. Gapang is the 2nd most popular beach in Pulau Weh.

# – The delicious mixed rice in Gapang. My mouth waters thinking about it T_T. Check out my rickshaw hair.

Next, we stopped by Iboih, the most popular beach on Pulau Weh for a drink. Most of the dive centres are located in Iboih.

# – Man prepared our coconut drinks while 2 local children watched attentively making sure he would not screw up.

From Iboih, we made our way to the last destination of the tour, which was Kilometer Nol (or Kilometer Zero), the west most point of Indonesia.

# – At supposedly the west most point of Indonesia

Coincidentally, a bunch of Navy officers and their wives were visiting from Jakarta. I assume they were very important & high up because there were tonnes of security. They were very friendly though, chatting all of us up. One of the guys told us that the west most point is technically about 2km away but it’s hard to get to so we’re actually really visiting “Kilometer 2”, hehe.

# – All the VIP cars and their security.

There was also some Indonesian TV crew trying to shoot the best sunset in Indonesia. We also stayed for sunset but the sun got hidden by clouds just before it plunged towards the horizon. FOL but FTL more :P

# – The TV crew.

# – Beautiful almost sunset at Kilometer Nol.

We got back and had dinner at Freddie’s again. Then off to bed. I think we were sleeping by 10.30pm every night. So healthy!

The next day, Gareth’s birthday! We decided to dive on his birthday. The dive centre we engaged was Rubiah Tirta Divers, located at Iboih beach. It is the oldest dive centre in Pulau Weh and has a very good reputation. The owners are famous for their efforts in conserving Pulau Weh’s marine life.

They picked us up from Casa Nemo in the morning and headed to Iboih, a half hour journey. We decided on 3 dives. Each dive spot is less than 5 minutes away from shore.

# – With the awesome divemaster, Mur aka Bandet. He’s got a good pace, he really knows the water and he’s funny!

# – Me!

# – Gareth!

# – Fish!

We had really pleasant dives. The visibility was decent about 15 metres & currents weren’t too bad too. Most importantly, it was only the divemaster and us so we felt like we owned the sea hehe.

By the way, if you’re ever at Iboih, you must absolutely eat the prawn sandwich at Dolphin, a restaurant next to Rubiah Tirta Divers. Dolphin also has free wifi.

# – Best prawn sandwich in the world. Succulent prawn pieces with sweet fried garlics & onions sandwiched between buttery toasts. OMG!!!

# – Watch for the friendliest cat in the world at Dolphin. It just jumped on Gareth’s lap and promptly fell asleep.

After the dives, Rubiah Tirta fetched us back to Casa Nemo. We cleaned up and headed to the beach for Gareth’s surprise birthday dinner ;)

I have nothing but praises for Ferdy the man in charge of Casa Nemo. He made our stay at Casa Nemo extremely wonderful. He helped me arranged a surprise birthday dinner for Gareth and he did such a wonderful job!

# – Ferdy with the ginormous fish they caught in the morning, which we happily ate at the surprise birthday dinner :)

Eventhough Casa Nemo does not serve dinner, he specially got his sister to cook us wonderful Javanese dishes (they are from East Java) and set us a table right on the beach! We had the beach to ourselves!

She also baked us a delicious cake :)

# – Surprise for the birthday boy!

By the time we finished dinner, we were exhausted. Mustered up our last remaining strength to climb back to our room and fell asleep. Not even 11pm yet haha.

The next day, we stayed in having long naps at Casa Nemo and hung out at Freddie’s eating & watching the beach. Utter bliss :)

And then, it was time to leave :(

# – Waving gallery at the airport.

One of our best holidays together. Definitely going back!

Posted in: Indonesia, Travels - Continue Reading

Why I decided to laser my eyes.

It started innocently enough, in the 2nd year of college, I found myself having to move my seat to the front row because I couldn’t make out what’s written on the whiteboard.

I started watching television from the distance of an arm’s length rather than several feet away. I began falling asleep in the midst of supposedly good movies in cinemas (which pissed Gareth off :P). I dreaded driving in the rain. I gained a reputation of being arrogant because I didn’t smile at people!

All thanks to my deteriorated eyesight. Mostly genetics, but definitely accelerated by long hours in front of the computer.

Mom was crushed when I had to start wearing glasses. To begin with, I couldn’t be more of a disappointment of a daughter for my mom. I already didn’t take care of my appearance as much as she believed a girl should. I would go out into the sun and came home ghastly tanned. I would step out of the house with frizzy, uncombed hair. And now her one and only daughter had to wear glasses. I bet she was thinking, “She’s not getting married, ever”. Hahaha.

I didn’t really care to be honest. I was already experimenting with those douchebag glassless spectacles before so I was rather thrilled that I now had a legitimate reason to wear one. So I went with Dad to an optical shop near home and a week later, I got my first pair of prescription glasses.

The novelty of wearing glasses quickly wore off. It sucked! It kept sliding off my face, didn’t help that I was born with flat pudgy nose. It kept fogging up when I exited my car. I kept having to clean the smudges and fingerprints.

# – A rare picture of me wearing my first pair of glasses eating Super Rings. Must be around year 2004 here.

Thanks to all the hassles, I only wore it for driving at night. My glasses were pretty much untouched the rest of time. Till I went for a job interview where having good eyesight was a prerequisite.

The doctor told me to get contact lenses, otherwise he would have to leave a remark on my medical report about my eyes and he told me point blank – I wouldn’t be hired. I’d never worn contact lenses in my life then and the thought of it freaked me out. I think that was the first time I ever felt truly disappointed by my problematic eyes.

Left with no choice, I got myself a pair of contact lenses. I got the job eventually but I never wore them. Luckily I was never in a situation where my eyesight was truly tested! Phew.

Until this day, I still couldn’t put on contact lenses without spending almost an hour on each eye. My eyes would get so reddened and watery, it just didn’t make much sense to put myself through the hassle.

As years passed though, my eyes got worse. I just couldn’t tread along without any vision aid. At last, I made a decision to wear glasses full time. I was like, since it’s probably forever, there’s no point hiding the fact that I’m four-eyed.

So, I decided to just get the most outrageous pair I could get my hands on. Hence, the arrival of my “Chicken Little” glasses that you, my readers had either come to love or hate.

# – My glasses that should have its own fanpage.

They were converted from a pair of sunglasses. Heavy, but I loved that my line of vision was hardly obstructed by the frames. Mom, was of course horrified but by now she knew she couldn’t do much to convince her daughter when it comes to appearance.

I think it was around the same time that I stopped wearing eye makeup too, haha. What’s the point? Cannot see also!

With my large spectacles, the familiar pesky problems returned. Spectacles fogging up, sweat pooling behind glasses (gross stuff), constantly having to clean the glasses (took me 5 minutes everytime cause damn glasses were so big), kids crying cause got spooked by my abnormally large “eyes”, rude relatives making rude remarks, looking like crap cause no point wearing makeup…the list continued.

But it’s still fine. I didn’t have to fall asleep in cinemas anymore. I could drive safely. I could see my friends from far. I could function, you know. That said, it still pissed me off whenever I had to watch 3D films, man it’s hard to balance two gigantic spectacles on a flat Asian face.

Then I got itchy butt and went to get a scuba diving license. I love it! The feeling of being suspended underwater is indescribable, only fellow divers would understand. But I knew that I hadn’t truly enjoyed diving because of my eyesight.

Frankly, from my first dive till now, I’ve had pretty good luck with meeting rare creatures underwater. The operative word here being “meeting”, not seeing.

# – Diving with shortsightedness.

Everytime, my divemaster would be like, “Kim did you see that shark? Kim, did you see that trumpet fish? I’d be like, yeah I did *smiley face*. But truthfully, all I saw were greyish blueish blobs. I guess I could have gotten prescription mask but it’s already hard enough to find an ordinary mask that fits my face T_T

And that feeling of disappointment with my eyes came back, every single time I went diving!

Despite wearing a ginormous pair of glasses and still never really took care of my physical appearance, I got proposed. As in marriage. See, mom? Hehe.

Anyway, we got straight to planning the wedding and then it dawned on me that I might not see Gareth clearly on our wedding day. I won’t be wearing contact lenses cause I don’t want to have red & watery eyes but I also CANNOT wear glasses on my wedding day. I just can’t bring myself to. I don’t want to be a four-eyed bride.

I want to have fake lashes so long Gareth would spot them first before he sees my face. The glasses would bend my eyelashes. Also, I would have nervous sweat pooled behind my glasses on my wedding day. I don’t want to be gross on my wedding day. The glasses would mess with my hair. Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.

# – I wore glasses on our Registration of Marriage day. Prefer not to on wedding day.

And that’s basically how I decided that I would get my eyes lasered once and for all. The most important day of my life, the most important day of a woman’s life. Getting married to the love of my life and presenting myself to him without a gigantic structure perched upon my nose.

I want to be able to bury my face into his chest without having to kill the moment by pausing to remove my glasses. I wanted to, no, I needed to laser my eyes and bid adieu to my “Chicken Little” glasses. I think I was so determined that I wasn’t even scared by the prospect of having laser shot into my eyes.

I asked a few friends who have had the Laser treatment done and the place with the most positive comments were all for Optimax Eye Specialist. My friend Celine in particular, is very, very happy and she did it 6 years ago with them.

I gave Optimax a call and was so impressed by the call operator herself who was so knowledgeable, I immediately made an appointment for a full eye checkup, which basically is a checkup too see if my eye were fit for the procedure. You must have normal to thick cornea thickness otherwise it’s not recommended and there are other procedures for people with thin corneas.

Well, at time of writing, I have already had the Custom All Laser Lasik procedure done and I couldn’t be more pleased. I don’t know how to put into words as to how happy I am and how excited I am with the future. And with the wedding, of course :)

Next post is going to be about my eye check-up and the experience of having my eyes lasered. Woohoo!

Posted in: Retail/Services Reviews, Special & Cool - Continue Reading