Others (under construction)

Monday, December 24, 2007

2007 Christmas at Mom's

Esther and my mom had an open house this year on the 24th December. The main dishes were over at Esther's and the coffee and snacks were at my mom's. It was a wet evening and parking was a hassle. They invited more that 300 over friends.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

2007 -Christmas Musical "Heaven's Throne"

Many of us were surprised when the committee announce that there would be a Christmas musical this year. We have not done a Christmas musical for a long long time.

The choir and drama members started practising in September. Many had to sacrificed their time, including students who sat for their PMR and SPM examinations in Sep/Oct/Nov.

The volunteers were required to sign up under these departments - 1)Costume 2)Make-Up, 3)Stage, Production & Props 4)Publicity & Awareness 5)Grounds & Deco 6)Hospitality & Food 7)Lights & Special Effects 8)Sound System (That's all I can think of at the moment)

The existing departments involved - 1)Choir 2)Drama 3)Dance 4)Usher

I got involved the the Stage and Production, simply because Sharon and Rachel were in charged. It was easy to work with them. Rachel did a mock-up stage and the committee approved. There were many volunteers for this department. The teenagers and older adults were so helpful.

In every musical we learn more about each other. We spend more time together and even as we bond with one another, our relationship with God become closer. We do this all for His glory.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Kuala Lumpur

This is the city of KL taken from KL tower. Although I've been to rotating restaurant in KL tower twice, I've never been to the observation deck. This is my first time.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Langkawi, Malaysia

My third visit to Langkawi. Six of us were there purely because of the free tickets Air Asia was issuing in January. My brother was the 7th person and he took the bus up to meet us. It was a free and easy holiday. We rented an Innova and was eager to visit all the duty-free shops. We came in late on the first day. So no shopping was done on that day.

On the second day, we woke up early, had a good breakfast at the hotel and started shopping. We hopped from shop to shop and compared all the chocolate prices. In the evening we bought some liquor (it's cheap, duty-free mah).

The next day, we went shopping again. This time to nearby shops. Then we wanted to do a little sightseeing and venture further into the island. We ended up in Perdana Quay where we had lunch in an expensive bakery called "The Loaf".

Then shopping again for the last time before we head towards the airport terminal. My brother was booked on a later flight. Were our bags overweight with chocolates? Nah... we controlled ourselves. Our bags were heavy but it was within the required weight of an internal flight.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Mt Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia

An experience not to be forgotten.

Guess where I was on the 19 Sept 2007, 8.09am? Yes! I was on the highest peak in Southeast Asia. Mt Kinabalu, 4095.2m, 13,455 feet above sea level. I made it to the top.

KG and Peter Lim were the team leaders/organisers. We were in a group of 20, age group between 17-65, 12 men and 8 ladies. 14 made it to the top. We all had stories to tell. Here’s mine :

My sister and I were the latecomers. We had our flights booked on 30 July 07. Others had theirs confirmed way back in March. I heard about this Kinabalu climb then (in Curry Leaf, after prayer meeting, when Peter Lim asked KG to eat more, because he needed the strength for Mt Kinabalu), and showed little interest. The interest grew when Min Chee (my good buddy) said she would be climbing Mt Kinabalu in May. To make things (my feelings in particular) worse, another of my good friend, Rachel Wong told me that she would be joining the recce team in July. I was envious. To console myself, I went for one of their training hikes at Gunung Angsi (26 April). It wasn’t pleasant. It rained a long time just before we started hiking. Many times I thought of turning back. The ground was muddy, slippery and FULL of leeches. I experienced 3 blood-thirsty leeches (at different times, thankfully) and screamed 3 times. I had something against leeches. Creepy, crawly and yucky. During this hike, Min Chee fell and fractured her finger. Because her Sabah trip was less than 2 weeks, she decided not risk climbing Mt Kinabalu.

The recce team (6 of them) went for a 3 day trip (20-22 July). All save one, made it to Low’s Peak, the highest point in Mt Kinabalu. They experienced good weather on the mountain top.

On 29 July, I asked Peter Lim about his recce trip. I can’t remember what he said, probably good or something like that, but I remembered him asking me this question – Do you want to join us for the Sept trip? I think my whole face lit up, and I said yes, if there was space. He checked with KG, and confirmed a space for me that very day itself. Knowing that Rachel Tan (my sister) would very much be interested in this trip, I asked her and checked with Peter if it’s not to late for her to join in. Peter said, “Okay, she can join us”.

Then we started our training… Kepayang Hill and Lake Gardens almost every Saturday and Sunday. Had to skip a few badminton sessions too. We did a Gunung Datuk climb on 25 Aug. Peter Lim was concerned for me because I skipped one Gunung Angsi hike in August. He never saw me in any of the trainings. I must say, his concern for me was well-founded. I don’t have good stamina. . :)

We had a briefing on the same day (25 Aug) in Lawrence’s house. Saw a short video clip of some celebrity climbing Mt Kinabalu. I had dreams after that…eg.. forgot to pack , went up to the mountain by van…… whatever.

17 Sept arrived. Some of us were on a different flight. We met together at about 1pm. Booked 2 vans to take us to the foothill. On the way, we stopped at a place called Nabalu where we had a drink and tried some of the local fruits, wild durians being one of them.

We arrived at Sutera Santuary Lodges (registration and check in) about 4pm. About 6000feet above sea level, the temperature was about, I don’t know… probably like Genting Highlands… 22ºC or something like that.

We stayed one night in Grace Hostel, had a worship and briefing session that night. It was then, when we were told of our groupings. I was in “Charlie 2”, my team members were KG Tan and Pearl.

The next morning, it rained. We started our journey late, partly because of the rain and mostly because we wanted to be later than the rest of the other hikers. The rain stopped just before we started our hike. We started at 10.15am. The first group, Alpha, went first, followed by Bravo, then Charlie 1 and Peter’s group. Charlie 2 (my group) was last because Pearl left her phone at Grace Hostel. She and KG went back to look for it. They couldn’t find it.

We were like 1 km slower than the last group but managed to catch up with them later. It started raining close to 3pm. Fortunately, we had raincoats in our backpack. With the rain, the strong wind and the drop in temperature, we were wet and cold. KG was shivering and it was not a good sign. Step by step, and lots of stops, we finally reached the rest house, also known as Laban Rata, at about 5pm. The earliest group came in at about 4pm. A few minutes after we arrived, Peter Lim came in and told us that Saw Ming (and a guide who was with him) was about 200 meters away and not in a good condition. No one wanted to go out in the cold. KG gave orders to prepare a hot flask and rushed out to rescue Saw Ming.

Later, we all had dinner, and those who were early, had buffet, and the rest of us who came down at 7.30pm were forced to order a plate of plain and tasteless fried rice which cost us RM15 each. We should have shared. Most of us only ate half of it. We had cream of mushroom soup too, jokingly referred as sharkfin’s soup.

At 8pm, we assembled in the guys’ room for a short briefing. We were told of our group members for the summit push. 4 to a group. Lawrence was newly recruited into our team.

Again Peter and KG briefed us on the clothing and the importance of sticking to our group. Should a lady decide to turn back, one of the guys would have to accompany her.

We slept by 9pm and set our alarm for 1.30am. Too excited, so short a time, too early to sleep, and for whatever reasons, some of us had a hard time getting a good night’s rest. Nevertheless, all of us woke up at 1.30am. Some decided not to go because of lack of sleep, backache, not feeling good… etc. It was drizzling and rumour had it that the gate might not be opened. We had a quick breakfast, put on our gear (that includes the “mafan” raincoat) and headed out into the unknown.

It was about 3.30am. Feeling light headed and weary, not to mention envious of those who slept in, we plunged into the cold. Upon reaching the first checkpoint (that was like 200meters or so), some of us were perspiring and had to take out at least 1 layer of clothing. I took off the rain coat and unzipped my sweater. (I had 3 layers on, excluding the rain coat). All went well until we came to the rope part where we had to pull ourselves up. The guide came to my rescue several times, and KG took over full time later. After the rope session, we reached the next checkpoint, Sayat-Sayat.

We walked for a while and stopped whenever we needed rest. KG wasn’t feeling very well and we rested more often than others. The air was thin and due to lack of sleep for the past few nights, I was extra cautious and did not want to take the risk of falling.

After reaching the 8km mark, I slowed down a lot. My legs just refused to move. I didn’t have any trouble breathing. To me, it was just like winter in Minnesota or Canada. Thank God, KG’s energy returned just in time. He was singing heartily, feeling on top of the world. This time, it was I who wanted to stop many times. Slow and steady, and with lots of encouragement from my fellow team member, I made it to the top. My sister was not far behind. She was with an experienced guide. I breathed a sigh of relief and happiness. It was about 8.09am. I was on the highest peak in Southeast Asia. I did it!!! And what do you know, my sister (they put us in different groups) was with me. We did our usual thing. Took pictures. We brought 2 flasks of Milo and had a good hot drink.

We left the peak at about 8.35am. The mist was about to come in. We saw Yau Ming coming up not long after we left Low’s Peak. He was alone and we left Rachel’s guide with him. Remember the golden rule? No one must be alone.

The ground was slippery. We reached Sayat Sayat at about 10.20am, met Peter Lim who was waiting for Yau Ming. We saw Yau Ming 25 minutes later and he went down ahead of us. Rachel’s guide led her past the rope section while I struggled with the ropes. Almost reaching Laban Rata, we met Bee Hwa and Joy with 2 guides. They wanted to go up to the summit. We prayed for them before letting them go. A while later, we saw Matthew Chong alone, also wanting to summit.

We reached Laban Rata at 12.25 pm. I had a headache even while I was going up to the summit. I took 1 soluble panadol and slept for a while. Some gathered downstairs at the dining area and shared their experiences.

At about 6.15pm after our shower, we went down for buffet dinner. It was so-so. Cost RM33.00 per person. At 7.30pm we had a worship session in the dining area and later, a short briefing for the next day. The thought of a second summit the next day crossed our minds but it didn’t happen.

By 9pm, the whole building was silent, with the exception of our room. Someone knocked on our door and asked us to be quiet.

We slept at about 10pm. Some of us couldn’t sleep, because the room was getting hot. The centralised heater went off at about 3am. We all woke up at 7.00-7.30am the next day, packed our bags, ate our breakfast and filled the flasks with Milo. We took photos outside the Laban Rata resthouse, did some stretching and headed for the foothill. As usual, KG and I were the last in line, and this time, Cassandra was with us. On the way down we took lots of pictures. I had some trouble going down because of my weak right knee. Cassandra developed a slight fever. KG was kind enough to carry Cassandra’s backpack along with his to lighten her burden. Towards the last few hundred meters, he ran to Pondok Timpohon, the entrance of Mt Kinabalu. Then he came back to us and took my backpack from me. By this time, Cassandra was feeling worse. We took the bus from Pondok Timpohon to Grace Hostel and found that the others waited for an hour (MORE THAN THAT) for us to arrive. They reached the foothill at about 2pm. (some at 10.45am .. the rest between 12pm – 2pm) They were worried and tried to call us many times. I switched off both phones the day before.

We washed up and left the place by 4pm. I sat in-between Cassandra and Bee Hwa. Cassandra was burning with fever and asked me to pray for her.

Our celebration dinner (seafood, what else!) was held in Kota Kinabalu town at 6.30pm. Peter Lai testified that for 38 years, it was his dream to climb Mt Kinabalu. He gave God the glory.

After that, 7 of our team members had a 9.05pm flight to catch and the rest of us stayed in KK Daya hotel. Rachel and I stayed 2 nights in KK Daya hotel. Our cousin in KK took us sight-seeing and we had quite a good time together.

It was a good trip. I had fun, I enjoyed myself and the team, especially the girls, blended in very well.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Ruth's Farewell

Ruth was going off to the States soon. My mom wanted to give her a farewell party. We thought she was only going to go off for a few months. Later (when she was in the States) we found out that she's going to stay there for good.

It was during the Mid-Autumn Festival, so we called some friends and their children over to have a get together.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Gunung Datuk, Negeri Sembilan

This was my first hike to Gunung Datuk. They said it was a short 2 hour hike and all who signed up for the Sept 07 Kinabalu climb MUST undergo this training. Still traumatized by the leeches in the the last hike at Gunung Angsi (Apr 26, 2007), I was praying very hard for good weather and no leeches. The hike up to the summit (2900 feet above sea level) was about 2 hours. I didn't keep proper record of time because I was too busy looking out for leeches.

When we finally reach the top, or what I thought was the peak of Gunung Datuk, the experienced team leader informed us otherwise. We had to climb those boulders to be able to say, we have summited.

I must say, I boasted about not having the fear of heights, but this Gunung Datuk climb made me rethink. I was climbing up the steel ladders, trying to balance myself and thinking of 101 reasons why I shouldn't take the next step forward. I was encouraged by team members to look up and not down. Even as I was climbing up the ladder, my thoughts went ahead of me. Climbing up is not too bad. Going down would be a problem. I shut my mind and continued up. Everyone of us made it to the peak. We took a group photo as proof that we summited.

Going down the ladders were tough. I turned green for a while but made it down with a lot of help from 2 team members. Soon all of us were happily descending. I'm a better a climber than a descender. My right knee was weak and going down the mountain was a bit tough on my knee.

We were back at the base in less than 2 hours, showered and had lunch at Pedas, a nearby town. My prayers were answered. It was a hot day and the leeches went into hiding.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Air Asia gave out 1,000,000 free seats in January07. Pam called and asked if I was interested in going to Chiang Mai or Hanoi. I said, sure, why not? I think our air flight tickets to Chiang Mai were free and the returned ticket price was at RM99.99 each excluding tax.

A nice short vacation, off peak season, weather was humid and we enjoyed ourselves very much.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

A'Famosa, Malacca

Another family vacation. Neela and Jason came back for a visit and our family planned a trip to A'Famosa Malacca. As usual, we had our own fun, our parents fun meant "mah jong" and the kids simply love being together. The meals were prepared by Tusi and our parents.... such nice dishes, which include chinese dishes (too many to list them down), nasi lemak, eggs and sausages for breakfast and red bean soup throughout the second day.

The kids were treated to an A'Famosa's Safari Experience. And apart from watching cartoons, they are often found in the swimming pool located in front of the bungalow.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Brian's Peter Pan Party

Brian was so excited when Grandma (Aunt Chris) decided to throw a party for him this year. He never had an exciting party like Mae-Z's. He thought long and hard for a theme and decided on a "Ninja Turtle Party". Grandma said no and told him that the theme would be "Peter Pan cum Pirates Party". Aunt Rachel and Aunt Eunice went to the U.S. last year and bought him a Peter Pan Suit. Brian didn't have a chance to wear it the last time the cousins had a costume party.

So once again, Grandma called Aunt Rachel to help with the props. We roped in Aunty Eunice, and Aunty Sharon to help out with the painting. Grandma did the Pinata and the ship. Aunty Adele also lent a helping hand with the ship.

Look at all the beautiful props. We certainly appreciated Aunty Rachel.

The invites were unique. It was a torn, burnt and coffee stained paper with a map printed on it. This invitation was inserted in a bottle and given out to the children.

It took Grandma some time to burn and dip the paper into the coffee.

(TO BE CONTINUED....)... lazy to continue dy lah.. 7May2008

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Keith and Team

Keith's 3rd visit to Malaysia. This time he brought 11 students from Winona. Seven of them served in the music team. They are all very talented.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Gunung Angsi

The pictures speak for itself. Ten of us went for this hike. It was a tough climb, at least for me. I have never hiked a mountain before. The peak of this mountain is at 825meter above sea level. It took us almost 4 hours to climb. Experienced hikers would take about 2 hours to hike up but inexperienced ones would take about 3 hours - 3 1/2 hours. We took longer because we got lost and had to back track for about half an hour.

What I dislike about hiking this mountain :-

1) LOTS of blood-sucking leeches. (yuck! yuck!)

2) A river to cross ( have to take off my shoes if the water level is high)

3) Hot and humid

4) Hillary hill - (we have to haul ourselves up)

5) View at the peak is lousy

6) Muscles ache everywhere for 3 days

What I like about hiking this mountain :-

1) After the hike, you feel good. 7 hours of exercise.

six dislikes verses 1 like. What do you say? Should I climb this mountain again? We shall see...

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Batu Caves & Genting Highlands with Frances

Rachel met Frances online and they started chatting. Frances wanted to visit Malaysia in Feb, and so they made plans. Frances was here for 5 days (I think). We asked her to spend some time alone in KL for the first two days, take the local tour or something like that. Then on the 3rd day, she came down by bus to meet us(Monday morning). We took her to Malacca and later, to Jeram Toi and the Lake Gardens. She stayed overnight in my house and early the next day we went to KL. Rachel had to work. Frances & I took the bus, met up with my brother and our first tourist stop was Batu Caves.Hmm... they have build a large golden statue since I last visited the place.
There were 272 steps leading to the top and Frances was so much fitter than me. If given a chance, she could walk all 272 steps without stopping, but I had to stop halfway to catch my breath. There were a few shrines in the caves, and monkeys too.

Later we went to Genting Highlands (the only casino in Malaysia), my brother drove us to Gotong Jaya, and we took the cable car up to Genting. The weather was coolish as always. We didn't gamble (good girls.. hehe), but sat on some mild rides in the theme park.

Then later, we came down again by cable car, and went to Central Market in KL, bought some souvenirs. A couple of storekeepers thought Frances was local and I was from Indonesia or Japan. Hmmm.... so different lah.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Colby's Visit to Malaysia

Colby is Min Chee's (overseas) colleague from Texas. He came to Malaysia for business. It's hard to believe that we are older than him. :)
He had 2 weekends free. The first weekend, we took him to Jeram Toi. We always think that Mat Salleh like nature. So we brought him to this water fall place, on the way to Jelebu.

He, being a "Mat Salleh" like to do all those crazy things. When he saw this log hanging like a bridge over the stream, he had to walk on the log to cross the stream.

Later we had dinner in my mother's house. Incidentally it was also during the Chinese New Year celebration.

The next weekend, we went to Port Dickson. We didn't swim. Just play around in the water.

Then later we went to City Park, Seremban 2. Colby tried all the "exercise equipment" there. He was like a kid. :)

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Chinese New Year 2007

Mom & Dad's new house.... all dressed up for Chinese New Year.