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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Annual Dinner 2006 Part 1

Ta daaa....finally the day of the event....hooray....then I am home to celebrate beloved daddy's birthday:p
Hehehe....committee were there early...me as usual and this was the signage at the main hall to lead our guests to the venue itself :)
Can you see my figure reflected?:p

And these were snapped from Han Yong's camera; the view of the hotel garden or rather, sea view:p

That was our banner...hey, where's the other half?
Look at our miniature flyers and you will get what I mean...so what happened to Mr ar?:p

The grand entrance into the Grand ballroom.....haha....
And these are the grand receptionists....hahaha....HY, JA, Liew and Fook:)
Busy setting up....actually they were the important men of the function and they will be coordinating the events....there we have, the man of the event himself there:)
Guess who *winks*
Ladies and gentlemen, presenting to you, our ATDM dolls...hehee :)
Dedicated dancers; bravo and I really salute their commitment and sacrifices made to spend their after work hours each day to dance to perfection for the event:)
Way to go, guys and gals....sway your way:)
Performers for the opening dance...Sway....I love that song...tantalizing for a salsa cum tango combination...ooo and also rhumba dance in this dance.
We had our full run rehearsal; with timing and also the coordination of the flow:)
Ran until 12.30p.m. where we finally have to leave the hall for the hotel staff to decorate the hall....so, it's time for our lunch and also self-preparation.
For the gals, it pretty much meant setting your hair and making up to transform ourselves into the belles of the ball:)
So, we headed upstairs to the hotel rooms (yeayyy, we managed to get a room from E&O for the committee and forked out extra $$$ for another room)
This is the first room; actually this belongs to the guys but since the other room is not available yet, we crammed into the guys' room to settle down and rest before we set off on the beauty mission:P
Some of them wanted to get some sleep but since we were bound by the time constraints, no choice lar....need to buck up and go for lunch then take our baths and also change for the night.
Anyway, a little peek into the room.
Surprisingly, I would say the rooms are not bad; no wonder they charge you for such a cut throat price...hahaa, frankly, there's more expensive hotels around but for Penang, this is it:p
The rooms were spacious; and yet we were told this is the smallest room....or rather, I would call these suites man:p
The beds; there were 2 queen-sized beds by the wall:)
We then headed straight to town for a quick lunch and then straight to get things done for ourselves....
Stay tune to the next part...hehehe.:p

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

E&O Hotel

My department just had the annual dinner last week...a yearly affair and organized by a bunch of young folks (LOL) which promotes the motto of the company to cultivate a great place to work:)
Proud to say, I was also part of the organizing gang and it was great fun to work on this despite the hectic schedule atop the normal work schedule adherence.
So, the venue for the function this year was the prestigious E&O hotel (Eastern and Oriental) which was the most expensive and also the oldest hotel on the island.
Let me go back to the pathfinding stage when we first started our planning; actually the whole event preparation took place in about a month(proud that we made it!~)
We actually arranged to check out the venue prior to the event to engage in the discussion and negotiation with the hotel management on the event arrangement:)
I was there early; while waiting for the rest of the gang to arrive after their lunch and started snapping pics for my blog...:p

This is the hallway; I entered the main entrance and then turned to my left at the hotel lobby and this is the corridor walkway.

Sarkies' Corner; their in-house old restaurant which was on the right of the hallway.

They serve buffet lunches and dinner as well. Anyway, the deco; as expected were mostly in the olden coffee house style....actually most of the stuffs here look ancient and antique...however, I must say that I am not that impressed with this "wah-so-expensive" hotel image and I will slowly explain why.
Now I am at the other end of the hallway and taking picture from that end:P

This is our supposed venue for the grand night; the grand ballroom....hahaha...it was a joke to me actually...nothing near to the adjective to indicate the grandeur impression it is imposing.

Sighhhh...in fact, nothing impressive at all about this hall....I was disappointed.

Hahaha...I even took a pic of the restroom; nothing grand lar....just ancient:p
Most of the things here adopt the antique and long lost collection stuffs which were used by our predecessors...ermmmm, our ancestors:p
The interesting part is the color theme which they adopt in their interior design decoration which kinda matched our theme as well.
Their color theme was actually set in black and white; to give it a classic look and also the vintage old feeling since it is after all, the oldest hotel in the Penang.
Well, I am not really awed by their image as I have to admit, their name and reputation as I have collected managed to captivate my curiosity ahead and I must say I had my expectations that this should be grand and bombastic.
Imagine my disappointment when I see a hotel which looks more like a coffee shop rather than a rated hotel.
Yes, you can maintain the image and outlook of the ancient style with a twist of tradition but somehow you need to exude the elegance and classy feel to the place as well; get what I mean?
It is kinda hard to express in words my expectations but for a highly priced hotel like these, you can't just adopt and describe that this is hotel in legend when all I can see is just a coffee shop styled inn...yeah, inn is more like it to call this place.
Who says antiques cannot have that classy and elegant appeal?
I think more effort needs to be included to enhance the image of the hotel.....to give it the winning reputation it deserves:)

Monday, November 27, 2006

Fully clothed doggie in the market

Look what I spotted when I was in the market last weekend....haha...I first walked through that area with my dad and saw it near some tables. The second round I saw it nearer to the gate post and this time it was tied....hmmmm, wonder why it was clad in an od-baby T....LOL...:D
Cute ler....mum was also laughing...and I took a quick snap of this little doggie :)
Happy sleeping...guess it must be spending the night out in the chilly weather....brings a new meaning to "Chill Out" huh...*winks*

My Date with Mr Veloo :)

Remember him? Mr Veloo?

I remembered my promise to pay my good friend from St Nicholas whom I met on the White Cane Day activity , Mr Veloo in the home on the following Friday. Remember him? I posted on the St Nicholas White Cane Day a couple of entries ago....and this was him then during the day of the event and I quietly took a quick pic of him while he was taking his lunch. Hehehe....Mr Veloo really loves food; he enjoys eating and food really interests him. In fact, he has a sharp sense of smell as we went through the market during the day as he asked me all the food that were being cooked which dispersed all the aroma in the air at the time....hahaha.....good ol' Mr Veloo:) Anyway, as promised, I was supposed to meet up with him again on the following Friday; a week after the White Cane Day to see him during his daily schedule and also he promised me a quick tour:) Thus, I went for a quick lunch after work on Friday and headed straight to St Nicholas Home in Bagan Jermal in Pulau Tikus which is rather near Gurney Drive as well.
It was cloudy and started to drizzle as I made my way there:P But it still did not stop me from fulfilling my promise:) I arrived there at about 2.30p.m...our scheduled time and drove into the St Nicholas Home compound. Upon entering the gate entrance, I was requested to produce my identity card for recordkeeping purposes at the security post and need to bring along the form to the person I am meeting for the authorization signature.
I then proceeded to the main office and asked to meet Mr Veloo and also Hafiz; the supervisor for the group during the White Cane Day (a pretty young chap my age who is really passionate about his work:)
Saw the guy; Kumar who actually was at the office to make the announcement to call for both of them to meet us.
Hafiz came and was surprised to see me; then Mr Veloo came and we had a warm welcome. Then he proceeded to lead us on the tour; escorted by Hafiz on the way as well.
First stop was the massage center where they taught them how to perform body massage. Pretty interesting and they do learn it in enthusiasm :)

He then led me to the classrooms; which is where they conducted the classes for the basic daily living skills; or rather survival skills for the visually impaired to live a normal life and to earn a living out there.
The skills taught included sewing (tailoring), typing, reading Braille, carpentry, gardening, etc.
It is amazing to hear about carpentry huh? I was equally amazed when I saw how they teach them to hammer the nails; mind you, it's definitely not an easy feat.
The main things taught is to fix the connectors for doors - the simple repairs for them to be able to contribute to the household; it's the same for gardening. They were also given the opportunity to feed the animals such as the fish in the pond.

Next, we went to the co-op shop which is a mini market in the home but the goods were limited. In fact, there was even a reading corner in this little shop.

Then we went to the other direction and headed to the library and audio recording room where I saw tonnes of books in Braille prints. The librarian explained that a normal book could be in 3-4 volumes in Braille due to the 3D prints which makes the compilation of the pages bulky and thus require separation into volumes. She also showed us the audio recording of the news and then we were led into the audio recording room; where they need resources/volunteers to help in recording/translating the books into audio format. At the moment, they are still recording in the traditional medium; cassettes but are looking at the conversion to compact discs.

The next stop was the IT center; where the computers were located and also Hafiz's working area. He also showed us to the Samsung sponsored lab which housed all the new computers.

Then we went to this IT room; where they printed Braille and this guy actually showed me how to do it using the software and also did a comparison between the manual typewriter and also the computer processing. Interesting:)Then they also showed us on the web surfing/browsing using the computer. Since they are visually impaired, the mouse is of no use to them; they are fully dependent on the keyboard and also the software, JAWS, which is installed to guide them by telling them the motion and also their clicking motion.
It is also helpful when they type using Microsoft Office...I think they mentioned that most of the web applications are not that friendly to the disabled society yet....so sad:(
Guess we took things for granted that we didn't realize others out there who needs these special attention and care.
The last stop was the basket making area and also the music room. I also met up with the other girl; Nicole who is actually very enthusiastic about piano and also computers. I am gonna learn piano from her; hopefully...hehehe :)
It was all in all an enriching experience-filled trip; we should really be thankful for what we have and try to help out those who are less fortunate in any way we can.
Not that we need to watch out for their backs all the time; they do want to be independent as well but I think they do appreciate if the society is actually more friendly and accepting towards them.
We finally left; followed by all the warm wishes from them around 4pm.
Thanks Mr Veloo and Hafiz....take good care and hope we can meet up again as well :)

By the way, to those who are interested, they do have vacancies as well in the home...so, just give them a call :)

Sunday, November 26, 2006

100% Human Hair???

Did you know that there is this shop in Sunway Pyramid which sells/specializes in hair wigs?
Of course, it may sound common but the bizarre thing is that the selling point about their products are that the wigs are of human hair - complete 100% human hair!!!
Aiksssss......sounds creepy to me:P
We walked past the shop and mum decided to just take a look for fun and I followed her; rather reluctantly I should say...haha.
You should understand what I mean judging from the pictures posted here....eeee.....they look so real and seriously, they really gave me the creeps:p (Sorry for the poor quality of the pics)
The whole shop was full of these bodiless (what a word to use) mannequins to display the wigs and they have that blank expressions on the faces (like, duuuhhh....if they were to have animated expressions, I bet I will be the new Olympic sprinter on the spot.....haha)
Mum saw a girl trying on the wigs and mentioned that it made her look so pretty. I shuddered at the looks of all these dummies and finally I lifted my fingers to run through the texture of the wigs and seriously, the hair is SMOOTH! and definitely human hair.....guess the demand is higher for realistic hair; but I guess it is logical especially for those who really need the wigs.
By the way, these wigs are not cheap either; I took a peek at the tag and saw that it costs about Rm200++...and I think that's one of the minimum prices. The wigs come in a variation of long, short, straight, curly, wavy, scruffy, etc...thus the prices ranges as well.
Anyway, I didn't want to stay long and dragged mummy out asap....really "geli" to stay there....
Check it out if you are ever in Sunway Pyramid and you'll know what I mean:)

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Thanksgiving loor...it's that time of the year again! It is where families gather around to pray or give thanks for whatever they have. Actually the celebration started from the harvest festival for the West and I think it's something similar to the Chinese celebration of the Winter Solstice.

As in Christmas, they have turkey (not a must though) and also reunion of the family - those kind of annual events which earn you a holiday.
I do not really celebrate this in particular; in fact I believe it is more popular/celebrated in the West. Also, my family kinda have our own thanksgiving most of the time as well:)
However, I do agree that this is a warm and happy occasion.
One thing I do know is: Holidays and no morning meetings during this time with US since they are on holidays on both Thursday and Friday...hehe!~

Anyway, Happy Thanksgiving!!~

Monday, November 06, 2006

White Cane Day

Last Sunday I volunteered for an event which was organized by St Nicholas; the home for the visually impaired. My company participated as a corporate organization showing support by calling for volunteers among the employees.
I have always been looking forward to such events since at a very young age but had no opportunity due to the resources to link to such events/organizations and therefore, I jumped at the idea and signed up immediately. I got my T-shirt; which unfortunately they ran out of sizes and I had to settle for L size instead...haha...was a little large but it was fine; the attire is not the main concern here even if I had to practically "swim" in the shirt...haha (quoted by Tracy of my US camp).

Anyway, I arrived there early and soon after all the volunteers from my company arrived along with another group from an International school and then the folks from St Nicholas. AS soon as the roll call and registration were done, they handed out breakfast and mineral water and also, we were given the Volunteer bag (courtesy of my company) but also specific for our community only:p Anyway,the congregation gathered at Komtar; in front of KFC above the bus station. The location selected was to comply with the activities; which is basically a simple task - guiding a visually-impaired to a specified destination via the public bus and back to the original destination. Also, we were given a stack of pamphlets to distribute to the members of the public - mission is to finish distributing to the public. I was assigned to Group 8 (each group consists of 10 people; 5 volunteers with 5 from the home and a leader/supervisor from St Nicholas as well) and to guide a senior St Nicholas tenant; Mr Veloo. We mingled around with them and had a light banter; sort of an ice-breaking session.
As usual, the event officiated with opening speeches from their honoured guests which include one of the St Nicholas former. Then we proceeded to guide them downstairs to the bus station and I did learn how to guide them; to be at ease and pretty much they do not need much guidance - we only need to let them hold the elbow and they can feel their way around and of course, we tell them when there is a physical barrier ahead.

We boarded the public bus; sponsored by the bus companies and also, led by our group leaders - pretty relieved at that (you know me with public transport:p )
Then we got our seat and I started chatting with Mr. Veloo who joked all the way with me; teasing me and he is actually such a humourous and chatty person. He kept praising me that I am an optimistic person and that he can feel that I have a kind and generous heart with a charitable and genuine personality. Awwww....that was such an overwhelming compliment; something I'd never have thought of myself *blushing*
We reached our destination in a short time; oops, I forgot to mention that our group was directed to the Jelutong market and police station. Hafiz, our young group leader broke the group to two locations; 2 pairs to the police station and the remaining 3 will scout the market. So, Mr Veloo and I opted for the market and fortunately, I have been to this place before and thus it was not an easier feat to accomplish. Now, we came to the part where we have to distribute the pamphlets to the public. We started with a normal approach by greeting them but most of them ran away from us. I was kind of disappointed with the reaction from the public; guess there is still the lack of awareness and care for the less fortunate :(
In fact, Mr Veloo was a little worried that he was the one scaring people away with his disability and thus, on a positive note, I reassured him that this is the impact of the revolving society and the rise of crimes which put the public on the edge of alertness. Then I proposed to approach some of the hawkers and that we play a little game; by feeling and guessing who do we approach (hospitable and friendly folks). I managed to distribute most of the pamphlets through this method and even enlightened the public that all we want to do is to distribute this for information sharing and no donations are required; which most of them responded to obligingly - the typical Malaysian society which is also not to be criticized due to the rising number of frauds.
Then, Mr Veloo suggested that we make our task easier by dropping the pamphlets into mailboxes if there is any residential neighborhood. Well, I managed to lead him to the nearby residential area and he had the fun of participation as he dropped the pamphlets into the mailboxes. At least he was content with that...hehe, made him felt less guilty by playing his part.
We accomplished our mission and met up with the rest of the group at a soya bean stall at the junction in the middle of the market. Mr Veloo wanted a drink but he was not too fond of soya bean and so I requested a quick minute from Hafiz to bring Mr Veloo back to a coconut drink stall we stumbled upon during our quest. He insisted to buy me the drink but I paid for it and then we were on our way back; heading to a bus stop to wait for our bus to bring us back to the city centre.
This time, the bus was packed but most of them wanted to board and did not mind standing; since they are getting tired...hehe. So, we boarded our way into the crowded bus and pushed our way.
However, I must note that there were 2 good Samaritans (Indian ladies) who gave up their comfortable seats for the less fortunate. I am really impressed by the kindness shown by these ladies; kudos to you and may God bless your kind souls.
Well, not to judge but I think the young men on the same bus should be ashamed of themselves as they continued to stare at the blind with a weird expression (only God knows what they are thinking or not). But, really proud of those ladies...:)
I led Mr Veloo to the seat and also to Segar to take his place next to Mr Veloo. I, however, was pushed to the back and was next to Hafiz, standing on the bus. We had a nice conversation and I found that Hafiz was also a fresh multimedia graduate; last year's batch - my age and this was his second job. He only started his job in St Nicholas about 2 weeks ago and therefore, he is also relatively new to this. However, he enjoyed working with them and he learnt a lot despite his short duration. I was glad and actually took the opportunity to offer my voluntary services if needed or part time :)
Soon, we reached Komtar and lunch was provided. We took some photos; had our lunch (packed boxes courtesy of St Nicholas) and sat down on the floor. Everyone had a nice group chat and then proceeded with some group photos; pretty much ended the day. I also helped another girl; Nicole to the ladies as her guide was actually a guy so it was more appropriate for me to be the guide. She is amazing; she knows how to play the piano...:)
Anyway, after all the goodbyes and photo-taking, we departed home; me with a satisfied and contented heart that I have made new friends and learnt more about the disabled. In fact, this is an enriching and I definitely do look forward to more of this in the near(very near, I hope) future. Only thing I would like to mention is that I was saddened by the society's reaction towards the disabled and I find that not everyone is educated and sensitized to understand the plights of the less fortunate.
Of course, there is always a silver lining beneath every cloud; I did see some admirable role models by the public; for instance, the 2 ladies who gave up their seats (I have to praise them for their honorable action repeatedly; I mean, honestly, will you guys do that or anyone do that in a crowded and humid bus? So, KUDOS again and also another one I should mention is the bus driver on our way back. He made us push our way to the back and also at the subsequent stops. However, he yelled his way through to the boarding passengers that they should make way and not push the disabled. He may not say it in such a polite or speech-like manner; but I could sense his kind intentions to protect the well-being of the disabled. So, kudos to the bus driver too!
All in all, this is a wonderful experience and definitely a memorable one; nice to have met everyone. Ooo....did I mention I will be visiting the home again..haha, an invitation and a date with Mr Veloo.....God bless all the Good Samaritans and folks of St Nicholas :)