Wednesday, November 22, 2006 

Malaysia, my home?

Growing up, I hated leaving Malaysia for our yearly family vacation. I hated leaving the comforts of my home, being away from my friends and having to deal with food, climate, people and culture I was not accustom to. Sure, Italy had the Vatican, Egypt had the Pyramids, New York has the Statue of Liberty, LA had Universal Studios, Melbourne has the (then) 12 Apostles…but nothing felt better than being home.

In college I made conscious choices to stay in the country. I changed from an American Degree Program which required I spend 3 years in Western Michigan to an Australian Program which only required I spend one year away. I was eventually given the choice to complete the entire course in Malaysia and I choose to stay.

When I finally started working I started to feel the itch for an overseas stint. I went to Singapore for a while but eventually returned home. But the longer I stayed in the country the more discontent I felt. I met some really inspirational people from other countries who made me realize that the methodologies and strategies deployed by local companies were less than desirable. I also became more aware of my rights as a Chinese Malaysian.

Malaysia lacks creativity and the ability to advance as the cream of the crop went overseas to study and has no motivation to return. My cousin for example was unable to obtain a scholarship in Malaysia but was granted a full scholarship by Cambridge University for his outstanding performance. He’s gone on to work for huge companies in London, New York, Hong Kong, Spain and Singapore. The one country he won’t be working in anytime soon is his home country. My friends were gladly accepted into Singapore polytechnics and universities after failing to get a place in the local universities. Some of them have given up their Malaysian citizenship as they felt more Singaporean than Malaysian.

After spending 27 years of my life in a place I called home, a place I never wanted to leave despite numerous opportunities, I feel torn to admit I want out. I am tired of policies which benefits a certain race. I am sick of working my ass off for a government who sends someone into space to play “batu seremban” and to make ‘the tarik” in the name of science??? I had enough with our corrupt policemen, politicians, taxi drivers, our repressed local media, our stupid “Malaysia Boleh” catch cry. I am disappointed to learn that immigrants from Vietnam and other war torn countries get housing, heath care and allowances from the Australian government whereas I, Malaysian am a second class citizen in my own country.

Fate knocks on my door and once again I am given a chance to leave, this time I think I’ll walk.

Monday, November 20, 2006 

Sabah Surprise

It’s amazing to meet up with an old friend after 14 years of being apart and still being able to pick up where we left off as if time didn’t move at all. We could COMMUNICATE as if we where still the best of friends, without the fear of being judged, without needing to thread of egg shells, without barriers, without egos, without awkward silences.

It’s refreshing to know that in the fast paced world I live in some things really don’t change at all.

Monday, November 13, 2006 

Getting started on the South Beach Diet

Today marks the end of my Phase 1 diet on the beach. In total I’ve lost 3kgs after 2 weeks and I feel great. Tomorrow onwards I’ll be entering phase 2 of the South Beach Diet where I’ll be introducing fruits and other South Beach Diet friendly carbs back into my diet. I can’t wait to sink my teeth into my organic peanut butter whole wheat sandwich!!!

Friends have been asking me about this diet as there is a visible difference in my waistline. For anyone interested to get started on the South Beach Diet I recommend getting the book. Otherwise there is a wealth of information readily available on the web; I don’t want to reinvent the wheel blogging about it.

Instead what I like to share is some of the possible hurdles being on the South Beach Diet and how to overcome it.

  • You don’t like eggs – During phase 1, breakfast will compromise of mainly eggs in one way or another-Eggs with ham, eggs with asparagus, eggs with mushroom, eggs with cheese and tomatoes… I am a big fan of eggs, but after ten days of eggs, I was close to gagging on it. There are a couple of options such as cottage cheese and salads which can be eaten instead of eggs. You could also eat food meant for lunch and dinner during breakfast.

  • You hate vegetables- If you hate vegetables I can safely say that this diet is not meant for you. The South Beach Diet is about making healthy long term changes to your diet and if you are not willing to make this important change to your diet then try Atkins at your own peril. Otherwise experiement with different types of vegetables and you’ll surely find something which agrees with your taste buds. Personally I like zucchini, broccoli and asparagus.

  • You hate cooking – It is pretty hard to stay healthy if you eat out everyday. The first 2 weeks of the South Beach Diet, is pretty restrictive and restaurant food tends to have sugar or flour in most dishes. There are a few places which serve SB friendly food but be prepared to spend a little extra. Try avoiding Asian restaurants in general for the first two weeks. During Phase 1 I ate mainly at home, but when forced to eat outside I choose Subway, Coffee Bean and Chili’s for their salads.

  • You love and can’t live without rice, pasta, bread, cookies, and potatoes – If you are addicted to carb-rich food I can tell you that the first 3 days will be hell. After that your body will adapt and the cravings will disappear. I am big on pastries and used to have it for breakfast and tea but the cravings have stopped and I can walk into a bakery and walk out empty handed, but God I do love the smell of butter!

I struggled for the first few days but it got a little easier as I watched my weight slowly creeping down. I am looking forward to Phase 2, I hope I can keep the weight off, wish me luck!

Monday, November 06, 2006 

Why are you sabotaging my diet?

I’ve been on the South Beach Diet for exactly a week now and the results are pretty amazing. The diet is healthy or at least healthier from what I am typically used to eating and I don’t feel hungry as the diet advocates 5-6 meals a day. I do miss fast food, potatoes, bread and mmmm my boyfriend’s yummy pasta but I’ve managed not to falter, yet. Grrrrr…but reading Boss Stevie’s blog certainly doesn’t help….

Mentally, I am prepared for difficult days: days when I gain kilos instead of losing, days when I have to put my diet on hold to entertain clients, days when I need to say “NO” to Bakerzin’s orgasmic Pistachio Crème Brulee even though every fiber in my being yearns for it…

What I wasn’t prepared for was the lack of support from the people around me. It’s astounding, but not all that surprising. At work for example there’s this 40 odd unmarried lady who hardly ever speaks to me. But last Tuesday, while I was happily munching away on my salad, had the nerve to walk into my cubicle and boast about her ability to eat anything without gaining weight. Two days later she offered me some “goreng pisang” and boasted loudly about her super humanly high metabolic rate when I declined the offer.

Some of my friends on the other hand, tell me I look fine and claim that men these days like women with a little more meat. Another friend whom I haven’t seen in over a year made an observation that the diet didn’t seem to be working and predicted that I’ll gain all the weight I lost eventually.

Why is it that certain people (indirectly or otherwise) sabotage my diet plans?

Personally, I think there are several reasons:

  • There are those who want to make me feel better so they say things like “…But you look fine now”. They want me to feel great about myself and are sometimes not aware of the implications of one more cheesecake. While such people could easily derail my diet, they mean no harm or ill intention.

  • There are those who are struggling with their own weight and might feel pressured to lose weight if I were to succeed. Rather then getting fit, they rather maintain the status quo.

  • Finally there are those do it out of jealousy or out of their own insecurities. For example, I am speculating that the 40+ old single colleague is doing it so that she feels superior to me in this aspect. I also had an ex-boyfriend who was afraid I’d leave him if I started to slim down.

How do I handle such situations?

I picture myself in a sexy bikini on a beach in Phuket giving the finger to everyone who thought I wouldn't make it.

I will not give anyone the satisfaction of stopping me from getting what I want.

Sunday, November 05, 2006 

One Week Ago

slinky needs to go on diet
Exactly one week ago I felt absolutely lousy. For someone who always seems to be brimming with confidence, my weight problem is my Achilles Heel. Last week, I jumped onto the scales and felt sick…61kg…that’s the highest I’ve been in a long time…I felt so sick. In an ideal world, a person should be judged based on the beauty within but the world we live in is far from being ideal. I hate being fat…I hate the way I feel self-conscious when I am out with my slim friends…I hate people cracking jokes about my weight…I hate trying to cut back on food only to succumb to a midnight binge…But what I hate the most is how my weight effects the way I view myself, how it makes me feel depressed and wallow in self-pity…but... I will not crumble, I will not lay down and dieeeeeeee!!!!

Sunday, March 26, 2006 

You Play World of Warcraft? You're Hired!

All ye geeks REJOICE!!! It seems stating your MMORPG (which stands for Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games for all you who have a life) experience in your resume could land you a dream job. This Wired article centers on Stephen Gillett, a Yahoo! senior manager who got his job in part because he was a top guild master in the online role-playing game World of Warcraft.

The articles suggests that when role-playing gamers team up to undertake a quest, they often need to attempt particularly difficult challenges repeatedly until they find a blend of skills, talents, and actions that allows them to succeed. This process makes them more flexible in their thinking and more sensitive to social cues

Non-gamers seem to think that it is all wishful thinking and begrudgingly scoff, “there’s no way role-playing an orc, an elf or a troll could create a talent pool of savvy managers”.

Personally, to be successful in team play games such as Counter Strike and MMORPG’s, one is required to have many skills beyond taping the mouse and executing perfect head shots.

Counter Strike for example encourages:

Planning – Any self respecting CS clan would have the floor plan of all competition maps - marked with legends, arrows and kopi O stains, and various strategies to infiltrate or secure the designated territory. Contingency plans and cash flow budgeting are also important to bounce back from early loses.

Patience - It’s pointless storming hostile territory ALONE when the enemy is camping at vantage points waiting to pump your body with lead. Wiser to wait for backup and hope to create a diversion with a handful of flashbangs and smoke grenades before charging in.

Watch your back – Back stabbing is probably more prevalent while harder to notice in the real world that in the game of Counter Strike, so it’s a good thing it’s second nature I watch my back to prevent being shot, or more embarrassingly knifed to death. Never assume no one is hiding behind that wooden box or that dark corner. Once the parameter is secured, be a team player and announce (f4), “Sector Clear!”

Online gaming is very similar to CS team play though it usually involves a larger community.

Cross-culture interpersonal skills - Interaction with guild members (especially if in an international guild) is usually limited in-game, therefore it is important to understand and be sensitive to different cultures and ensure that the message conveyed is clear.

Persuasion – Being part of a male dominant community does wonders in enhancing one’s persuasion powers.

The article continues…

In this way, the process of becoming an effective World of Warcraft guild master amounts to a total-immersion course in leadership. A guild is a collection of players who come together to share knowledge, resources, and manpower. To run a large one, a guild master must be adept at many skills: attracting, evaluating, and recruiting new members; creating apprenticeship programs; orchestrating group strategy; and adjudicating disputes. Guilds routinely splinter over petty squabbles and other basic failures of management; the master must resolve them without losing valuable members, who can easily quit and join a rival guild. Never mind the virtual surroundings; these conditions provide real-world training a manager can apply directly in the workplace.

The day may not be far off when companies receive résumés that include a line reading "level 60 tauren shaman in World of Warcraft."

Saturday, March 25, 2006 

Nice ah Boss Stewie? Make me do stupid school meme...

He who pisses in the country side bushes tagged me with a school meme some time back. Nice ah?

I have some wonderful memories of me vandalizing school property and flooding my school’s “bengkel” when assigned to clean the roof as a form of punishment. Slinky – 2, School –Nil!

How many schools did I go to?

Four. I was in the same primary school up till I completed my UPSR but changed secondary schools three times.

Was I the studious nerd, or the last minute hero?

Definitely the last minute HERO. I think I bring it when it comes to last minute studying. During my time, part of the examinations were multiple choice - Teachers used to call me “Sharp Shooter”, indicating that I seldom knew the answer for sure but always managed to “tikam” (guess) the right one.

Was I the class ‘taiko’ or the teacher’s pet?

A Taiko, who was also the headmistress’s pet (powerleh!) until a certain incident. Please refer below.

What was the biggest rule I broke in school?

Man I broke so many rules in school but being the headmistress’s pet and never getting caught was my key to not getting expelled. Rules i broke include – skirts too short, socks too high, shop lifting, vandalizing, playing truant, defiance of prefects and teachers, etc etc but the one thing that got me into a whole load of trouble was a half page article I wrote about the tyranny of my school’s rules which got published in Youth Quake.

Thanks NST for publishing my email address which also happens to be my real name! Nice ah?

Three subjects I enjoyed.

Literature, English and Economics

Three teachers that inspired me.

My Literature, English and Economics teachers.