Saturday, December 2, 2006

My foster parents from Indonesia

It was in year 2003 during the Ship for Southeast Asia Program (SSEAYP 2003), that I first step on Indonesia ground.

News about bombing and the dangerous Indonesia started to news I do not believe, just after a few minutes when Nippon Maru berthed. We were welcomed by the band from Indonesian Navy. Look right! Yes, they were performing under the rain just to welcome us.

Next to the band were children dressed in uniform, waving Indonesia flag when they see the great Nippon Maru.

We had visits to Taman Mini Indonesia Indah. If you think "mini" is small, think again. This mini park boast buildings from all over Indonesia. Yes, real size buildings within the large (more than 100ha) park. So the mini really mean the mini of magnificent Indonesia. I remember Keong Emas, a nice building shaped like a snail in golden colour (left). "Keong" means snail and "Emas" is golden. Keong Emas houses the largest screen and now plays Imax movies.

We were also police escorted to Depdiknas (is short for Departmen Pendidikan Nasional) and watched cultural performances there. Then, we also went to the ASEAN Secretariat and paid courtesy visit to the then President Megawati. Till this day, when I meet Indonesians and tell them I met their President, many still awed and blink in disbelieve. I wonder why.

We had 2 days/2 nights stay with foster parents and I was paired with Haidah from Singapore to stay with Rachmat and Mami! They were wonderful parents with 3 daughters. My papa is a civil engineer while my mama works with people's mouth (yes a dentist!). Their daughters are Mita, Anti and Lia.

Left picture shows (from left) Mita, Mama, Haidah, Lia and me. Papa was working during send off and Anti was studying in Bandung.

I was working till late on Thursday and before I went to bed I thought to adjust the alarm clock from one of my handphones. To my surprise I saw a miss call from an Indonesian number and then a sms that says "Papa and mama in KL, staying in Lanson Place. Wish to see you. Rachmat and Mami" Wow, guess what, I couldn't sleep. Among all foster parents, I am closest with my Indonesian parents as I was on business trips to Indonesia every month last year.

The next day I took them out for dinner in Kebaba Restaurant in Ampang with Pakistani food. We had Aloo Gobi (cauliflower with potatoes in gravy - my favourite dish so I remember the name), Tandoori Chicken, lamb and fish served with garlic naan and Pakistani briyani rice.

We spoke about life and business. Mama just got the franchise to work with children to build talents! And I am working with over 5000 underprivileged children in a network of 90 orphanages, through CyberCare. Papa also said that Mama picked up painting. Papa retired a month ago but the company wants him to continue his service.

I had phone calls with Mita and Anti. Mita is practising and sounded stressful that she must finish many cases to complete her studies to be a dentist. In fact, she said that only 10% of those practising got to graduate. I wish you luck, Mita! Anti is still studying and in Bandung.

Tomorrow I am going to send Papa and Mama to airport.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

A Blog instead of Email!

Today I was invited to contribute to a Blog set up for my batch mates. (More...)

The blog was set up for our batch to catch up with each other. Instead of emailing, we now do blogging. Now even emailing each other is a hassle when it comes to long conversation and you are lost of which emails come first. Well, all good we have gmail around. I always find it easy to track emails with long conversations and CC here and there. However, most people find using company email provider more convenient. Therefore, getting lost with lots of emails!

So let's do blogging. Cool beans having a blog instead of emails heh?

Saturday, November 25, 2006

A Day of Reflections - My Best Birthday 1998

When was your happiest moment on earth? What have you done to benefit mankind and humanity? How did you make your life worthwhile? Where were you when you felt best about yourself?

Today I reflected things I am happy with and works I have done, not forgetting reflecting my happiest moment.

It is now near to December, one more month and I will celebrate my birthday. It is so very normal for me to reflect my happiest birthdays for the past 25 years. I remembered my 18th birthday, organised by all my friends.

From planning, invitation, venue, food and arrangements are all done by my friends. They informed me a few weeks earlier that they will throw me a party. "Wow! A birthday party.... I have never had that chance before!" They asked me who to invite. When I was blank (since I never organised parties before), they even guided me by going class by class. "Who in Form 5 Orange you want to invite?... 5 Indigo?..." (our classes are named after colours)

A venue was fixed at my friend's, Woo Suet Sze's house, and the time was 7pm. They then arranged everything and all I had to do was to reach there safely and celebrate the day! What great reflections you have when you have friends like that, right? Whenever I remember this day, tears normally roll down my face. I have such good friends and great companions in my life. As I reflected, I also ask myself, where are they now and how are they doing in life. A few are still in touch with me but I have lost touch with a few. Really wish to see all of them back one day.

So when was your happiest moment?

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Today I am sick

After about 2 years never fall sick, except for a week of viral fever in between, I finally got sore throat, cough and flu. The trio always come together about 2-3 months once but that was before year 2004. I have fed my antibodies with multivitamins daily for the past 2 years. Busy days come and go and I forgot to take the vits for about 2 months now. See what has forgetfulness done to me now! However, I find that I recover faster than before unlike last time I would stay on bed for days to recover. Wonders of pills heh!?

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Anugerah Belia Negeri Selangor

Wow! That was a great day for me. 4th November and I was all excited. After breakfast, I dressed up to prepare for the day. I was invited to the Assembly for the Selangor State Youth Week (wow how to translate that? - Perhimpunan Belia Majlis Sambutan Minggu Belia peringkat Negeri Selangor).

The only thing I knew was seven participants were shortlisted. I do not know if I am a winner but I must go for a bet. I reached there at about 15 minutes later. The invitation letter said we must be there by 1.00pm. Little did I know that the event only starts at 1.30pm and arrival of Guest of Honour was scheduled at 2.45pm!

Anyway, Andrew accompany me to this meaningful event. We were dressed in batik. See, what a lucky girl I am - accompanied by the most handsome boyfriend and ...... shhh..... (the surprise is yet to come)

It all started when I wanted to look for funds for CyberCare. It came upon me to get the Anugerah Perdana Pertubuhan Belia, aiming to win the state and national allocations for our organisation to pursue further on our noble services to orphanages nationwide. Along with that, I submitted my application to the Anugerah Belia Negara (in the category of Volunteerism).

The National Youth Day passed and I doubt the "no news means good news" phrase. I thought that the shortlisting and selection was done and the recipients were announced. However, contrary to my belief, I was called for an interview somewhere in July. Confidently, I posed in and got shortlisted.

As I said earlier, all I knew was there were 7 shortlisted participants in my category. I have nothing much to expect. This was the first time I applied for this award and I knew my profile wasn't too strong to get this.

The guest of honour, Hon. Chief Minister, Dato' Seri Dr. Khir bin Toyo came despite raining cats and dogs. I caught a glimpse of my friend, Norizan Sharif who was walking with him towards the hall. I sms-ed him but no reply came in.

All in all, I was in a very neutral mood at that time. I knew what I have done should be enough to be awarded but I was not sure if there are people who may deserve the recognition more than me.

The announcement finally came....... for the category of volunteerism... Second runners up..... (not my name)..... First runners up.... (not my name)....

"We can go home now," I told Andrew.

Champion goes to ... Encik..... (Aih!!!..... this means that I have wasted a few hours just to hear the bad news...) ..... Chew Hoong Ling!

(Have I heard wrongly? Was that my name? Huh!?)

I was stunned for a moment but I was leaping inside. Little did I know that my profile actually stood out among the applicants. Something inside me encouraged me to serve more and continue serving the people.

As I walked towards the side of the stage awaiting the announcement for me to collect the awards, I was really excited. Andrew, who took the role a my personal photographer that day, quickly step up to prepare a position.

One thing disappointed me was the MCs did not mentioned my name and skipped the champion for the category of volunteerism. They went on straight to the next category, leaving me standing like a fool at the side of the stage.

When they finally announced my name, I went up the stage, had a handshake with the Chief Minister and pose to the cameras. Chief Minister warned me, "This is a bit heavy for you." Yes, the trophy and the certificate was really heavy but I managed to balance it with my hands.

All winners were to remain on stage for photography session.

Phew.... is all over now.... I WON! I WON!.... and then we proceed to Subang to celebrate (no, not to celebrate this occassion) my friend, Jen Yi's birthday.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

ASTRO Bersama Anita

Sitting beside Anita Sarawak is an honour. What more to be interviewed by this elegant and charming lady! Anita Sarawak is one of the most beautiful ladies I have ever met. Being at this age, still keeping in shape is difficult.

This time I was invited as one of the panel speakers on the topic of organ donation. Being an organ donation activist (a title I start to call myself from today onwards), this is truly an honour. I am not attached to any organisation or clubs focusing on organ donation. In fact, I can find no organisations in Malaysia dedicating to organ donation.

However, as an individual active in various youth activities and being members in many organisations allow me to get involved and start promoting this noble act of donating organs after death. My enthusiasm in organ donation starts when I first read about it and pledged as early as when I was 13. Moved by a story of a young pledger and articles written by monks about the joy of giving, being a Buddhist, that messages push me to sign to pledge my organs.

I have organised various organ donation campaigns and worked closely with the National Transplant Resource Centre. Coming a long way in giving suggestions to improve organ donation rates in Malaysia through my few articles published in news, I feel that Malaysia has grown much in creating awareness regarding this issue.

While blood donation may take about a decade for people to accept the fact that blood donation is a norm and could help save lives, I hope that organ donation will take a shorter time in this technology advanced age.

More can still be done in organ and blood donation. As an individual, I call upon all interested people in this area to help me in the quest of promoting organ donation. Please find my contact details in this website and contact me for further actions in promoting organ donation.

BERSAMA ANITA - ASTRO RIA 7th may 2006 1pm - watch out for Hoong Ling on air!

Friday, February 24, 2006

Ulu Sepri..... keindahan tak terhingga

Kehadiran saya sebagai jurulatih di Kem Bina Negara, Ulu Sepri menjadi satu penghormatan untuk diri saya. Tidak diduga saya dipilih menjadi jurulatih dalam Kem Personaliti Menjulang TNB atas jemputan Biro Tatanegara Jabatan Perdana Menteri. Inilah julung-julung kali saya menyertai kursus yang disediakan untuk para eksekutif dan tenaga sokongan TNB.

Penglibatan saya dengan BTN bermula awal sejak dijemput sebagai ahli panel Bicara Siswa. Bicara Siswa merupakan satu rancangan TV mahasiswa, yang diudarakan melalui TV1 secara langsung dari Angkasapuri. Dipengerusikan oleh bekas Ketua Pengarah BTN, Datuk Nordin Kardi, Bicara Siswa menjadi pentas perdebatan topik-topik yang menarik dan memperlihatkan pandangan mahasiswa dalam isu-isu negara yang dibincangkan. Saya cukup bangga diundang untuk memberikan pendapat saya sebanyak dua kali untuk mengupas topik "Demokrasi: ala Malaysia atau ala Amerika" dan "Pembahagian Sama Rasa atau Mengikut Kesesuaian".

Setiap kali menyertai program-program BTN, darah Bangsa Malaysia dalam diri saya mengalir deras. Bersama BTN sahajalah, isu-isu kenegaraan dibincangkan, sejarah negara diperkaya dan isu semasa diperkemaskinikan dalam diri saya. Barangkali perbincangan tentang negara sukar dibawa ke kedai kopi, apatah lagi bersama rakan-rakan dalam umur 20-an yang jarang menyentuh isu-isu sebegini. Kali ini kem dilaksanakan di Kem Bina Negara, Ulu Sepri, Rembau, Negeri Sembilan. Pagar biru yang menyambut kedatangan saya akhirnya membuka tirai yang mengunci alam semulajadi yang begitu luas dan saat itulah saya tinggalkan segala apa dalam minda saya. Satu jejak kaki sahaja di bumi seluas 64 ekar ini, hati saya sudah terpikat nan keindahan dan kehijauan kem ini.

Saya terus disajikan masakan kampung Negeri Sembilan. Rasa bersalah kalau makan banyak dan soal menjaga badan, segera saya ketepikan. Penyakit gastrik dan ulcer yang menjauhkan sambal pedas dan kari dari meja makan saya sekian lama, kini dilupakan sementara.

Keselesaan kem ini membuat saya terlupa sejenak saya sebenarnya jurulatih dalam kem ini. Menulis pantun, tiba-tiba ilham tercetus. Biar pantun ini menjadi penutup coretan saya hari ini.

Sunyi sepi menyelubungi malam,
Semut, serangga merayap pulang,
Ulu Sepri indah tergamam,
Menjulang personaliti TNB gemilang.

Pagi menyinsing jadi pengganti,
Kicau burung, merdu sentiasa,
Cabaran mesti terus dihadapi,
Bersama penggerak tenaga Malaysia.

Friday, February 3, 2006

More than RM150 spent on Anson Chee Cheung Fun alone!

This year Chinese New Year celebration was a bit different without Tempoyak Curry and Stuffed Crabs. In fact, a reporter wanted to cover the special dishes on my family reunion table but too bad, the 'cooks' didn't want the special hassle this year. My aunt is getting old and always having backache.

If you are wondering what is Tempoyak - it's fermented durians! I don't think we can find Tempoyak Curry common on Chinese dining table. Yuks, you say.... Tempoyak? Even yuks rhymes with tempoyak.... Some people don't even like durians and how can people even put fermented durians in their mouths!!!????

However, what couldn't run away from our mouths every year for Chinese New Year is the famous Anson Chee Cheung Fun! This will never be missed.

Liew Kee Chee Cheung Fun from Teluk Intan normally opens as early as 8pm to produce Chee Cheung Fun all the way till the next morning. Operations often only stops at 8 or 10am during peak periods like Chinese New Year. See how the queue lined up nicely till the road side of the 'factory'!

This time I found a sign saying 'Please Queue Up'. Normally there is no queues, only people crowding around the entrance to shout their orders. The manufacturer finally get things organised by encouraging patrons to queue up.

One roll of Chee Cheung Fun normally costs RM1.10 at normal days but raised to RM1.50 per roll during Chinese New Year. One packet will have 2 rolls, making it RM3 per packet, which many people think is still cheap.

Well, if you total up my family spending on this specialty alone, we spent more than RM150 for this within 3 days in Teluk Intan. If you are wondering, people normally buy from 20-100 packets each. My cousin even ordered 20 rolls in a pack to bring home to Batu Pahat. I took my grab of 10 rolls to Ipoh when visiting my aunt.

If you have special eyes, you can see the picture on the left, the guy in white is holding RM100 waiting patiently to buy Chee Chueng Fun. I also bought 20 packets home this time (at time of taking this photo), RM60 worth. Chee Cheung Fun is so fun!

Anson Chee Chueng Fun differs from other Chee Cheung Fun as the fillings are made of dried prawns and other ingredients pre-fried to cook. Is black in colour and wrapped in thin, soft sheets of cooked rice water. So the finished roll normally comes out white with black spots.

Too bad, this photographer (that is me!) forgot to take a picture of how it looks like when finished. This picture on the right is the 'factory'! The 'boss' in orange shirt will pour rice water on the tray and spread the cooked ingredients on it. Then push the tray on the conveyer belt steamer. As the tray moves to the other end, the Chee Cheung Fun is done!

Another worker on the other end will roll the Chee Cheung Fun, and another will collect the trays, wipe the trays and push it back to the boss. The ready Chee Chueng will be packed by another person on the table at the left side. If you see properly you can see there is a red plastic bag to put the packed Chee Cheung Fun.

See.... Chee Cheung Fun right at the door step of the factory, fresh from the steamer!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Organ Donation - Where, What, How?

Date: 12th January 2006 (Thursday)
Time: 10.00 am - 4.00 pm
Venue: Eastin Hotel, Petaling Jaya
Who: Organised by Lions Club International, District 308B1, Zone 10

Come and get to know more about organ donation and sign up as an organ donor today! Organ Donor Card - Don't Leave the World Without It!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Organ Donation - what can you do

I am surprised! Last morning I received a call from Ooi Gaik Lean, all the way from Penang. 8am in the morning my phone rang and I thought that must be someone dialling a wrong number but what surprised me was a call from a very enthusiastic lady wanting to know more about Organ Donation.

This is rare gem! Imagine someone waking up early in the morning and call me to talk about organ donation, ain't this wonderful? Someone who care about the issue and willing to take actions but do not know how.

After a few questions, she actually found me through this website. Cool what internet can do heh? First, I got a call from TV3 to interview me, next a call from Penang. All about organ donation. This means that articles I wrote years ago is an attempt not futile. Cool to know this!

So, 'What can I do as an individual to create more awareness about organ donation?' I grew with excitement when Gaik Lean asked about this. I was thinking and finally here is what I can share.

As individual, anyone can start by just signing up as an organ donor AND inform your next of kins about your decision. Next, try to influence your relatives and friends towards this noble cause. As you answer their doubts and questions with open hearts and willingness to share your 'life' even after death; you will find strengths and rebuild confidence that your move to become an organ donor is always a definite right thing to do.

Secondly, Gaik Lean suggested a very good idea. She said that all the organ donors should form a small group to help create awareness among people in their community. Gaik Lean, for one, lives in Penang but do not have the resources and materials to start with.

Thirdly, with the use of Internet, I am sure information and technology always go together. With just a click of a button, everything can be automated. I have suggested in my article a few years back, we should automate and make organ donation available online. Imagine an article written in 1999 and no one in Malaysia has make that move yet.

NOT all who have their organ donor card in the wallet make it to donate their organs successfully. Unless you die in an environment where equipments are available to maintain your organs' 'lives', you cannot donate if the organs ceased functions. In this case, tissues like corneas, bones and skin can still be donated. So, the number of organ donor card holders are very important. The more, the merrier!

Monday, January 9, 2006

TV3 Interview

Interesting call, I received on Friday. TV3 host, Fikri, from Malaysia Hari Ini talk show, called to say he wanted to interview me.

It was through one of my many published articles about Organ Donation, that he got to know about me actively involved in organ donation. Timely enough, the one-minute-interview will be featured on Tuesday (10th January 2006) Malaysia Hari Ini talk show. Coincidently, the Lions Club Zone 10 District 308B1 Malaysia will be organising a blood donation and organ pledge drive in Eastin Hotel, Petaling Jaya on Thursday (12th January 2006).

This small yet meaningful drive will give people the opportunity to bring life to the "waiting-to-die". Lists of patients awaiting organs for transplant are always long. Organ donors are at all time never enough to cover the need of the patients in the waiting lists.

Blood supply always go low during festive seasons and this is a good time to replenish the stock to prepare for the coming Chinese New Year, where Chinese will celebrate on 29th January 2006.

Oh, back to the interview. The interview was done on Saturday and hopefully I will appear on Tuesday. Thanks go to TV3 and the crew for giving hopes to the needy by creating awareness through one of its popular shows.

Hooray to another corporate party who always care!