Tuesday, May 15, 2012


- Coldplay -

….blooming snow pink….



Spring in Japan – BIG TICK

Monday, November 21, 2011


- Etta James -

Chirpy morning, don't you think? So what are you waiting for? Grab your Nikes and I'll race you to the field! Run, let's beat the yawning wind!


About that.

The subject of running.

The only ongoing race I'm relentlessly witnessing is of blisters rapturously popping on my fingertips. The new set of medication is doing its job just fine, but not without its adverse effect.

Lying here for the 5th week now, I just can't help but feel....


Helpless that it's my wedding day in a couple of weeks time. Helpless that I haven't been able to do much in preparing for the big day; zero experience under my (back-bracing) belt. For any bride-to-be, it's when the bouquet, the shoes, the something borrowed, something blue are sorted, tucked away safely, ready. A sixpence. That dress. THE dress.

I've come to terms with my being confined to bed is currently what's best. It means, no scouring for shoes, or dress, just yet. But, you know how it is. Inevitably, you can't stop but think about that last crucial tick in the must-do list.

Because, you see....

....at least....


there's something from that special day you can claim yours and yours only. Something one day you can speak of with pride: detailing with great care the softness of chiffon on your skin, the sweet smell of the lily in your hair, the bright sparkle of sequins and silky laces on your shoes.


Then, in my moment of sadness he comes,

"Cheer up", he says, "It's all going to be OK"

"At least....", he smiles,

....You have me."

And life, as Etta says, is like a song.

Love, has come along.

- image taken from Amy Simon's flickr

Friday, November 11, 2011


- Bob Dylan -

In the right light, at the right time, everything is extraordinary. - Aaron Rose
Photo taken in Kota Kinabalu, October 2011

This photo came to mind this morning as I was lying down getting ready for my MRI, looking up at the ceiling where several light panels were displaying blue skies. As though I was looking at a tiny cropped section of this photo. Today is 11.11.11. My appointment was at 11 a.m. I was at the hospital.

Have you watched the movie Face Off? You know the scene where the little kid was listening to Olivia Newton-John's Somewhere Over The Rainbow on his earphones while everybody else was fiercely shooting away? It felt like the movie, staying still as much as I could, but I was listening to Jon Secada. 'Just another day' he sang.

Just another day.


Many months have passed since I last wrote. “Hello world” would sound rather pallid.

I'm back in Malaysia. Back to routine. Not exactly a transition that I was too excited about, and yet it didn't feel completely unnatural too.

And for those many months, I’ve seen the passing of many faces of prominence – Maathai, Steve (Yes, like the rest of the masses I’m delusionally on first name basis with this one), Ghadafi.

Times they are a changin', history unfoldin'.

The civil signing will be held one month from now. The Tayabalis will be here in KL for the first time. They'll be meeting my family for the first time. It'll be a weekend getaway together for us for the first time. 

Happy days with strawberries and chocolate sprinkles. I think I'll manage.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


- Moby -

....outside Tent #5....

Perfect coloured me.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011


- The Beatles -

....here comes the sun, and I say it's all right....

Mombasa, Kenya, June 2011

The adventures of the cicak!

For the benefit of you non-Malay speakers, I googled 'cicak' and delightfully found this.

I didn't expect to find more than a paragraph to describe a cicak, but I guess the great Ah Poh knows best.

Thursday, June 30, 2011


- Wilson Pickett -

 ....and the Maasai warrior sings
as the dhow sails home

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


- A.R. Rahman -

I haven't blogged in this space for a while, I know. It's rather tricky when you are in the mercy of whatever bandwidth is available on the go and at the same time, there are other matters to attend to: calls and updates to folks back home, photo uploads, blog posts in the other website, catch ups with my reading, plans for the weekends....the fiancee may have caught the tummy bug and for a few days now has been feeling a tad under the weather so most of my attention is towards his well-being; making an appointment with the doctor, etc. etc. My sabbatical days are filled productively.

At 11 a.m. this morning I was still half asleep and I thought how in the world would I ever re-adjust to my pre-travel days, when at 7 a.m. I'd be at the door ready for work. Probably never but the idea of squeezing a little extra time at home every morning is nowadays more and more attractive.

It's cold here in Nairobi today, 18 degrees out. As I continue my duty on this gloomy day, I leave you with this photo.

The grinning lion, Ngorongoro Crater, June 2011

As sheepish as mine.

Thursday, June 02, 2011


- UKO -

My days
I steal a grin
in return a wink
The rustling of the tree
this melody

My days
with you 

Wednesday, June 01, 2011


- Seals & Croft -

....for Shaista....

....from the quaint tiny streets of Zanzibar....

See the curtains hanging in the window
In the evening on a Friday night
A little light a-shining through the window
 Lets me know everything's alright

Summer breeze makes me feel fine
Blowing through the jasmine in my mind
Summer breeze makes me feel fine
Blowing through the jasmine in my mind

See the paper laying on the sidewalk
A little music from the house next door
So I walk on up to the door step
Through the screen and across the floor

Summer breeze makes me feel fine
Blowing through the jasmine in my mind
Summer breeze makes me feel fine
Blowing through the jasmine in my mind

Sweet days of summer, the jasmine's in bloom
July is dressed up and playing her tune
When I come home from a hard days work
And you're waiting there, not a care in the world

See the smile a-waiting in the kitchen
Food cooking and the plates for two
Feel the arms that reach out to hold me
In the evening when the day is through

Summer breeze makes me feel fine
Blowing through the jasmine in my mind
Summer breeze makes me feel fine
 Blowing through the jasmine in my mind

Saturday, May 28, 2011


- The Beatles -

"So, are you ready for the dive today?"

"NO", she said, half asleep and rolled over in bed, ready to get back to sleep. It's 7.30 a.m.

"It's just another dive," she thought. But since it was going to be a while before they'd be out diving again (but they did 6 already!), she decided she might as well tag along. Besides, it's her buddy.


The sun was out but the swells were unforgiving. At least the motion sickness pills were working. There was quite an excitement throughout the boat ride as the captain carefully maneuvered out to sea to the Bwejuu reef. There's only a narrow passage where the boats are able to past the barrier reef safely. The boy, the girl and Sufi, the dive master, clung on tightly to the boat.

A sharp 'pssssssshhhhhhhhh' jolted everybody on the boat.

Her BCD unexpectedly disconnected from her tank. Sufi immediately came to fix the leak. She lost 50 bars from 200 bars of air. It meant that she may not be able to dive as long as the boy and Sufi. Sufi reassured everybody that everything's fine. She remained calm. They had the spare tank ready, but it was unnecessary.

Like any other day, it was paradise down below. The graceful manta rays, the masters of camouflage; the octupuses, the schools of fishes; big and small, the plethora of colours.

Her tank was down to 70 bars. He was wondering whether they should ascend by now.

A beautiful manta ray swam past them. Sufi was pulling her down to the ocean floor while the boy was trying to deflate her BCD.

"Oh, we're going to wait for the manta ray to pass again," she thought gleefully.

The boy took out a slate from his pocket and showed it to the girl. She was expecting the boy to write something about the manta ray but on it was already written....


She wanted to laugh with joy and amazement but she couldn't. She wrote back....

You bet


Now, where's my ring?!!!

"It was a bangle in my pocket - gone," he replied. The wooden African bangle must have floated away in the sea, and in the confusion all she managed to figure out from the sentence was 'goat'.

But it all didn't matter; bangle, gone, goat. The wooden African bangle now forever one with the mighty ocean. The moment became the sea's new treasure. The memory part of its mystery.

She was too happy. Those little things never matter.

On the boat they all had champagne.

That evening, she saw a shooting star, as she proudly wore a replacement bangle around her wrist.

....And they live happily ever after....

(That last line was deliberately stolen from another tale, but all tales should end that way, shouldn't it?)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Saturday, April 02, 2011


To be honest I don’t know what I think about South Africa. Even after 2 weeks.

I'm going to have to start with the things I see.

South Africa is about soaring mountains and crystal clear oceans. Vineyards and farmlands and mines stretch as far as the horizon. Driving around the countryside takes your breath away - you are in awe of the constant change of view around you. Game reserves are aplenty, you'll be given the rare opportunity to be in the company of elephants, rhinos, giraffes, zebras, hippos, kudus, elands, wildebeests and warthogs in the wild. In the cities, the roads are pristine and estates are just filled with beautiful houses with manicured lawns and you sip your wine out near the swimming pool and stare at the shadow of lavender swaying with the wind. Cashiers never fail to give you a big smile and greet you when you line up for your groceries. Everybody's friendly, everybody's warm.

Everybody seems to be happy. Living the life.

But a lot of times, that life is neatly hidden behind electric fences, barbed wires and thick metal grills. Drive a bit more and there'll be roads heavily potholed with signs that say 'Hijacking Hotspots - for the next 6 km’, nothing more so you just have to take your chances. Very cautiously, you continue driving and shanty towns slowly appear. You lock your doors because it's bloody dangerous. Hide everything. Never wind down the windows when you reach junctions - people come to try sell you trinkets, newspapers; others ask for food, money, or garbage. Never look people in the eyes. Never do anything. Sit put until the light goes green. Because that's what you're told to do.

There's just so much disparity around, so obvious that it's shameful to see. Poverty is prevalent within the black community. This amidst the vast richness of everything else. You will observe the many that are forced to walk for miles and miles to get anywhere because cheap public transport is scarce when 9 out of 10 private cars are only driven by the 10% population of whites - I counted. Whatever image the country's portrayed for, although still holds true to an extent, has deeply hurt it's own reputation and will continue so until things really change. Crime is real, but so is fear mongering – sadly, even among locals. Time will heal, time is needed to put South Africa's sad history behind her but from it too, to welcome and embrace her full potential, slowly, but surely emerging. Many are trying to make a difference for the better and that says a lot about the desire of her people.

All in all, I love the marvellous time I have in South Africa; the scenic tour around Cape Town, the quiet stay in the wine district of Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, the lovely wedding in the little place called The Moon and Sixpence, the exciting game drives in Thulani and Pilanesburg, the busy weeks in Johannesburg, most of all, the great people I meet.

But at times, my heart sinks.


Security is big business in the cities.


Kids coming home from school at the Malay Quarter in Cape Town.


A view of Cape Town from Table Mountain.


At a vineyard Stellenbosch.


Cape Agulhas, the southernmost tip of South Africa. The moment we first saw the ocean, Rizwan and I just stopped by the side of the road and sat there in silence. It was one of the most beautiful experiences.


Wildebeests in Pilanesburg Game Reserve

Before signing off, here's a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Little Jen back in Miri. Best wishes and good luck for the exam!

....taken from Sticky In Africa, Wed, Mar 30th 2011

Friday, March 11, 2011


- Green Day -

I am ready. I am packed, I have one foot out the door.

But I am not feeling too excited.

The 8.9 earthquake that struck the north-eastern part of Japan left me speechless as the images of the huge tsunami barrelling its way across the land and gobbling up everything in its path is being repeated endlessly on the telly. Both Wade and Sebastien in Tokyo have reported that they are fine to much relief. Japan is no stranger to earthquakes but this is said to be the worse, I continue to watch in horror. I was reminded of the tsunami that hit the Indian Ocean one Boxing Day in 2004, how helpless I felt but thankful at the same time.

This is the second major earthquake to hit in a matter of one month, the previous one brought Christchurch down to its knees. 

Panic makes good TV and I am sure most people who deal with this deal with this calmly, orderly and to their ability yet I am humbled by the forces of nature.

Saturday, March 05, 2011


- Michelle Featherstone -

....almost there, be ready....

'So jump on the handle bars and hold on tight
We'll steal away through the fields at night'

Sunday, February 27, 2011


- God Is An Astronaut -

....while I wait for the week to end....

Such a distraction, window panes.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


- Michael Buble -

Because everything has a little bit of you.

....Are you still imagining?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Monday, February 14, 2011


- Matt Giraud -

....each day is Valentine's Day....

My funny valentine
Sweet comic valentine
You make me smile with my heart

Don't change a hair for me
Not if you care for me

Stay little valentine

Sunday, February 13, 2011


- Meiko -

I don't know what to call this state I'm in. I feel like I'm in a big transparent plastic bubble all the time, I'm moving with time but I don't feel the interaction with anything around me. At the same time I'm nauseated as the bubble rolls and tumbles in its path. Like zorbing but without the fun.

Two weeks ago, my Dad's car got stolen, and last night, our house in Miri got broken into. The burglers waited for the right time to strike, the only evening that the house is unoccupied and they know what they're looking for. Fortunately Mom is a master in hiding things, the damage is minimal. The most valuable must be an antique Iban headgear and accessories she's been preciously keeping, handed down from generation to generation. But more importantly, nobody's hurt. I called her, I can sense her calm nerves faced with situations like this. It's amazing how she does that every time. When I asked her if she's OK, she said she's just fine and she just needs to go through everything to find out what else is missing. She doesn't waste time to mull around.

And yet, for me, something IS missing. The last week has been a blur. I sleep or am awake at odd hours. I'm in endless torpor. My first proper meal was Friday lunch. I don't know what I've been eating otherwise. Everything is falling in place beautifully but I'm not feeling it. Not as much as I should. Could it also be....guilt? Guilt that my Mom has to go through all that and I'm here, being on the other end of the spectrum, planets align for me?

I have to pry open and step out of this stupid bubble before I suffocate. The air is beginning to turn stale already.

I need my Swiss Army knife.

If only I can find it.  

Thursday, February 10, 2011


- Elton John -

I hope you don't mind
I hope you don't mind
that I put down in words
How wonderful life is
while you're in the world

- Elton John -