Sunday, September 23, 2012

When Legal Minds Meet

you'll find the dullest group of people. Kidding! Well, half kidding :P So two weeks ago I hopped on a plane to Singapore for our annual Axiata Group Legal Conference. I wasn't too keen on going this year as compared to last year and the year before where the conference was at Bangkok and Sri Lanka. But hop on a plane I did. As expected the topics of discussion presented by Axiata's OpCos this time were not exciting for me. Except for the talks and workshops done by Allen & Overy and Herbert Smith LLP, I find the conference to be quite dull, and I will not bore you with what the topics were. Trust me, you'll thank me.

For some reason I don't find Singapore particularly appealing. There was nothing much for us to do. Granted, our hotel was located right smack in middle of Orchard Street (we stayed in Hilton) but unless you've got a stash of money and have no qualms about spending them, then you won't enjoy Orchard Street at all. I also think (forgive me Singaporeans, I may be wrong about this) that Singapore does not have much culture for us to explore. Unlike in Sri Lanka where we had the chance to watch the locals perform their traditional dance and in Bangkok where we got to visit their temples. But then again, to be fair we were only there for three days and didn't have much time to explore.

As soon as we got to Singapore, we (there were three of us who came with me) checked in, freshened up and hit the stretch that is Orchard Street (seriously how many shopping malls can a place have in one street?). And then we met up my best friend, Eon, who works with Schlumberger Singapore who took us to Zam Zam Restaurant where we had their famous "murtabak Singapore" and Al-Tasneem where we had "sup tulang merah." She then took us to Haji Lane where quaint shops lined the streets. Now that's what I'm talking about! Not some fancy shop in a fancy mall! After dinner, she bade us goodbye and we headed back to the hotel where we quickly showered and went downstairs to the lobby to regroup with our boss and three of our colleagues for a short discussion for our presentation the next day. Snoozefest...

Murtabak Singapore. Filled with meat. Yum!

Sup tulang merah. Good eaten with bread :)

Such is the life of a lawyer. Zzzz...

The next day after a full day of presentations and seminars, the whole Axiata entourage had dinner at Gunther's, a restaurant which specializes in French cuisine. I didn't really enjoy the food (probably because I'm not used to such fine dining :P) For starters we had the cold angel hair pasta with caviar, the grilled scallop & mushroom consommé and the roasted Carabinero sambas with tomato rice (I like this one). For main course we had the oven roasted blue-eyed cod with couscous of vegetables and for dessert we had fine apple tart "a la dragee"with vanilla ice cream and petit fours. The only good thing about dinner was the good company we had. Since it was a meeting with all the operating companies, I had the chance to see old friends from our sister companies in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Cambodia. I also got to make new friends whom I didn't get to meet from the last two conferences. It was great fun and the restaurant was filled with loud conversations and roars of laughter. I was lucky that I sat with some of the most fun people I've had the pleasure of meeting in my life. I think my table was the loudest of them all!

Cold angel hair pasta with caviar

Scallop and mushroom consomme

roasted Carabinero sambas with tomato rice

Oven roasted blue-eyed cod with couscous of vegetables

Fine apple tart "a la dragee"with vanilla ice cream

Petit fours

Our table. Sorry for the bad lighting

On the final day we went over to Allen & Overy's office in Marina Bay for a final seminar. By this time nobody was paying much attention the speaker since we were all tired. 

Allen & Overy's office. Wouldn't you kill to have this office view?

After the final presentation everyone except for me and my two colleagues headed to the airport. The three of us decided to hop on the MRT (the MRT system is pretty impressive I have to say) and head over to Clarke Quay. By this time I'm proud to report that I'm pretty good at reading maps. Sign me up for Amazing Race! It would have been nice if we went to Clarke Quay the night before coz it's a nice place to hang out and have drinks while watching the boats float by on the river.

Clarke Quay where we had our late lunch

In a nutshell, the trip wasn't too memorable and I was so glad to be home with DH. There were talks about having the next conference at Mauritius. Now that I don't want to miss. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Basic Manners

So MIL came to KL two weekends ago just so we could drive her around the city to visit her relatives (sure. Why not?) After we did our rounds we went back to our place to wait for BIL and wife to pick her up. It was a bit late in the day for me to make dinner so we ordered pizza. BIL and wife, who brought her sister along arrived just in time for dinner. And then the most bizarre and awkward thing happened. SIL and her sister started talking in Chinese at the dinner table. DH and I looked at each other and then DH asked her, "wow you can speak Chinese?" To which SIL replied, "yes I learned it in school." Now here in Malaysia not every Malay is fortunate enough to learn Chinese, or any other language, as a third language. We usually converse in Malay or English language, and this girl started talking to her sister in a language no one else at the table could understand.

I don't know about you guys but I find that to be incredibly rude. Now how would she feel if I start talking to DH in English at her home at her dinner table when I know full well that she's not that fluent in speaking and understanding English? I had to literally restrain myself from rolling my eyes. I didn't want to say anything coz DH and MIL were there and I didn't want to make things even more awkward. But in retrospect, I probably should have. Come on! It's basic manners! When did it become okay for a guest to come to your house and start to converse to another guest in a foreign language at your dinner table? I must have not gotten that memo.

Anyway, I had to let it out of my chest and when DH and I were in the car on the way back home from work last Monday, I brought it up. And thank God DH thought that it was rude too! He said that it's probably because SIL is still very young (she's 20 or 21. I don't know and I don't care) and is still a bit immature. For goodness sake, she's married and has a son. It's time to grow the blardy hell up. And age does not excuse a person from behaving badly, don't you think? And what message is she sending her son when she acts like that?

So true, Mr. Astaire

So, anywaaaaay, apart from that unfortunate incident I had a lovely time that weekend. DH and I went to my best friend's house in Langat for dinner. Mom thought that it would be a good idea to bring BIL who came back from UK for an interview along, and he was happy enough to tag along. I'm so glad that he enjoyed himself. Being a German and not used to the Malay culture yet, I could tell that he was a bit bewildered by the experience. My best friend's family is the super friendly type and whenever we go to her house, there's no shortage of loud conversations and booming laughter. So yeah, can't blame the guy for looking like a deer caught in the headlights LOL. Sorry BIL. You'll get used to it. Give it time :P

Friends. Sisters

Monday, September 3, 2012

'Tis The Season To Be Jolly...

...for the most part, at least. I realize that I haven't been blogging for two weeks now. There's a reason for that. We celebrated Eid two weeks ago which was fantastic. Here in Malaysia we take Eid seriously and we usually take a whole week off to celebrate. My celebration started when my little sister came home from Sabah for a short five day holiday to celebrate Eid with us, which was awesome coz we rarely get to see her. Then my family returned to my parents' hometown in Batu Gajah to celebrate the first day of Eid with their relatives. It's always wonderful to celebrate Eid with my side of the family because I get to see my aunts, uncles and cousins whom we probably see once or twice a year and us cousins, we're pretty close.

I bought some firecrackers and fireworks and brought them back to Batu Gajah and we had a blast lighting those bad a**es up. It's a wonder that the police didn't come for us coz there were some pretty big bangs going on. Surprisingly I didn't eat much during Eid this year. I lost a bit of weight over the fasting month and I'd really like to stick to my current weight. Can't say the same about DH though. He ate at every relative's house we visited.

On the third day of Eid we went back to DH's hometown. DH's side of the family don't normally do much during Eid so we spent most of the time at home. It was a good thing I brought some books to read (finished all four of them in the course of three days). By the fifth day of Eid we were back at home since DH wanted to go in to the office the next day.

Me & DH

Me & lil sister :)

And then last week I started going back to the office after nine days of merriment. Obviously being a company made up of 80% Malay Muslims, people were not yet in the mood for work, which was fine by me. The less my phone rang, the more work I could get done. And then on Friday we celebrated Merdeka (Independence Day) which was another public holiday for us. People say that Malaysia has got the most public holidays in a calendar year, and I think they're right. Not that I'm complaining.

Anyway, on Friday one of my buttcheeks got married. That day was a special day not only for her, but for me too. This friend has been through a lot in the past couple of years. She went through a nasty divorce. Her crazy ex-husband continued to make her life a living hell even after the divorce.

So, sometime last year, around the time I had my first miscarriage, she met a lovely guy. He came with her to the hospital to visit me but at that time I didn't get to see him simply because he thought that that was a private time between me and my friend and he didn't want to intrude. (The first sign that he's lovely.) I remember her telling me about him when I asked her who she came with and her face lit up, although she quickly realized that then was not the right time to talk about her love life, with my miscarriage and all. I didn't mind to be honest. At least I got to hear some good news about something.

The second sign that I knew that he's a decent guy is when DH told me that he is. Now I bet you must be thinking "how the heck did DH know?" Well, DH is a pretty good judge of character. So when DH told me that my best friend's boyfriend (now husband) was a good guy, I believed him. Plus, he is really good with my friend's kids. It's lovely to see them them together, him, my best friends and her kids. Her kids now call him "Ayah" (Father). Everytime us buttcheeks and our husbands go out for dinner, he would always join us and we talk and laugh together. It's as if we've known him for years.

Anyway, back to the wedding. The ceremony was held at a mosque in KL. Seeing my friend in her wedding dress made me tear up a bit. She looked happy and gorgeous beyond words. I had been very good at holding back my tears until the kadi announced that the "nikah"(solemnization) was "sah" (valid). I could feel my eyes welling up already and avoided looking at my friend for fear that I might cry. So far so good. And then when the ceremony was over, I went over to her to give her a hug, I started crying. I congratulated her and told her that I love her and the tears just wouldn't stop. To say that I was happy for her and her new husband was an understatement. After all that she's been through, she deserves all the happiness in the world. Oh and another sign that her husband was perfect was when he made a speech at the reception, thanking her two kids who are 7 and 5, for sharing their mom's love with him. Isn't that the loveliest thing ever? :D

So here's to you my friend. I love you with all my heart and wish you all the happiness in the world. Ameen.

Me & lovely buttcheeks. I would love to post a picture of my best friend in her wedding dress but I'm not going to to protect her privacy. Sorry.

In other news, another one of my buttcheeks told us girls that she's two months pregnant! Yay! Alhamdulillah. She's been struggling with secondary infertility and after seeing my RE and taking a couple of cycles of clomid, she's now got a bun in her oven! I am over the moon for her because I know that it's a struggle for her to conceive too. So here's to you too. I love you and wish you a smooth pregnancy and a safe delivery. Ameen.

Ok now for the not so jolly bit. You know how new moms sometimes think that everything revolves around their babies? It's starting to annoy the crap out of me. It's like every conversation I have with these new moms must have, I repeat must have a mention of their babies.

Me: wanna go out for lunch tomorrow?
New mom: Oh I can't. Baby needs his nap time.

Me: Have you made your baju kurung for Eid?
New mom: Oh yes. But I can't make one with beads because baby might pull them and put them in his mouth.

Me (while talking about food): Duck rice is actually quite good.
New mom: Oh last night baby played with his rubber ducky during bath time.

And it doesn't just stop there. Every freaking tweet and every Facebook status is about their babies. For the love of God, I'm so happy that you're a mom now but everytime this happens, it feels like I'm getting my teeth pulled. Please new mom, please stop before I stab myself in the eyes.

Don't get me wrong. I know that it's their right to post whatever they want on Facebook and tweet whatever they want. But it just amplifies my sadness me because I can't do all that. To be honest, I don't think it would bother me that much if I weren't infertile and have had two freaking miscarriages. But I am infertile and I have had two miscarriages. So sue me for being bitter. There. I got it out. Phew. I feel better now. I can now go to bed. Goodnight.