Thursday, January 20, 2011

Practical Advices

It's been almost 6 months since my return to Malaysia. Yet, I hadn't really talked about how things are going, how the verdict is about my decision to return. Truth be told, I am still not 100% sure that my decision to come back was right.

During my recent trip to Kota Kinabalu, while having after-movie supper with some old friends, one of them shared with us a tip she got from her boss in Australia. He said, "There is no such thing as the right choice of path. You just need to choose one path and figure out how to live it". That advice struck me like a bolt of lightning, because although I am content with my life so far, I have been thinking a lot about my decision to settle down in Malaysia and about my choice of career, that I often forget to make the best out of what I already have and improve them.

Just the other day, while having a drink with my colleagues after work, one of them shared with us another advice that I had known all the while, just never really given it much thought. She said, "You will never succeed in what you do if you don't put your heart into it, no matter how smart or capable you are". This was meaningful to me because I realised I have been spending way too much time figuring out whether I should be doing what I am doing, instead of actually figuring out how best to do those things.

But as another saying goes, "Talk is cheap. Deeds are precious". Agreeing with something doesn't make it that much easier to practice it. It is hard, having to balance between appreciating what you already have and not being rigid against changes that could improve it. It is hard, having to put your heart into something, without being rigid against exploring other things.

I guess the biggest problem most people have is that with just 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, there isn't enough time to think about all these while having to work for a decent living. Even that is arguable because the term "decent living" can mean different things to different people.

For now, I know what I want and what is important to me, so I will work towards it. Career is only a means to get what I want, so it doesn't really matter what I do, as long as I get, unless it gets unbearable and all initial purposes are defeated. For those who could make a career out of their passion, I truly envy them but as envy is said to one of the 7 deadliest sins, I shall try my best not to wallow in it.

There will be no conclusion to this entry, as there is no absolute solution to a happier life. But an advice or two won't hurt, will it?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Steamboat @ Water Cress Valley, Cameron Highlands

Last weekend, I went to Cameron Highlands for the 2nd time in 4 months. This time I went with colleagues. Steamboat is by default the must-eat meal while visiting Cameron Highlands, so you can find loads and loads of steamboat restaurants there.

We went to this restaurant called Water Cress Valley.

The food was quite good. Well, as good as steamboat goes. The ingredients were fresh, except for the fish slices. Not surprising, it being so high up in the highlands and all. Frankly, the food wasn't that much to shout about.

But what I love most about the place was the environment. We were dining on a platform overseeing the hills. Although unfortunately we could only see darkness at night, we could feel the mountain breeze and and absolutely fresh air. The temperature dropped and dropped as the night deepened, and we froze every now and then when the wind blew. The steaming hot steamboat contrasted with the surrounding temperature very nicely. Add to all that with great company and a nice bottle of red wine, and we had a thoroughly enjoyable dining experience.

Now comes the boring part - the bills. There were 7 of us, and we paid about RM300+ for the meal. That included many many varieties of dishes and cups of water cress drinks. We were totally stuffed by the end of the meal. So I say it's worth it.

Will I recommend this place to others? Yes, I will. Will I go back again? For the environment, yes I most definitely will.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Sup Gear Box

I was out with my parents in a joyride at Gombak and came across a lot of these Malay restaurants selling "Sup Gear Box", alongside the more commonly found "Sup Tulang", "Sup Ekor" etc. We got really curious what "Sup Gear Box" was, so we decided to give it a try.

So what is "Sup Gear Box"?

^Cow joint, probably the femur, cooked in spicy soup.

The soup was served with a steak knife and a drinking straw. The knife is obviously used to cut the meat and tendons, and the straw is to slurp the bone marrow. Didn't feel adventurous enough to taste the bone marrow, though. The soup and meat, however, tasted VERY good, but the tendons were too hard, so that was kind of disappointing, as I LOVE cow tendons. Would be nice to try this soup some place else where it is cooked longer to soften the tendons.

This bowl of soup cost RM26. The portion was enough for 2 to 3 persons. I would order this if I see it in a menu elsewhere.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Post-Dinner: Elixir @ Changkat & Reflexology @ Bukit Bintang

After our dinner at Nerotica, some of us went for drinks at Elixir. It being a Thursday night, us females got free flow of drinks! Although, we could only choose either passion fruit or lychee martini.

After we had enough free drinks, as we were on our way to our next planned activity (teh tarik), we passed by that street near Jalan Bukit Bintang with gazillions of foot reflexology shops, and decided we want to get our feet beaten up by some strangers. So we pulled aside, parked the car, and headed to the least dodgy-looking foot reflexology outlet and that's where a colleague and I lost our reflexology-virginity to 2 of these 3 totally not-pro looking masseur.

^Not-pro as they may seem, my legs and feet still hurt like mad the next day. Normal for the morning after a massage, Mom says.

Fun night, that was. And economic too. I only spent RM50 for the foot massage and RM10 for the valet parking at Elixir. The rest were all free!!! LoL...I know, I'm cheap.

Dinner at Nerotica @ Hotel Sommerset, Jalan Ceylon, KL

My boss treated my colleagues and I to a sumptuous dinner at Nerotica last Thursday (30 Dec 2010), both as a farewell to our now ex-colleague and as a New Year dinner.

The atmosphere was excellent with just the right amount of illumination. The service wasn't very friendly, but it was satisfactory. The restaurant service staff just seemed so serious. It didn't take too long for the dishes to be served, though. Minus points, however, for the expensive parking space within the hotel compounds at RM10 per vehicle, and we were told only the hotel guests are allowed to park for free. So...patrons of the hotel F&B are not considered guests, I suppose. The hotel staff wasn't even happy to entertain us like he knew we would never pay that kind of money. Well, we wouldn't, but hey, manners are manners. Lucky for me, another colleague knew a place nearby where we could park for free!

^The props above our heads

Food was really good, but not great. It tasted like something I could find at just about any other Italian restaurant.
^We were a bunch of sakai people, scouring the menu to find out the price of this 500ml bottle of mineral water. It was RM10.

^Salad with smoked salmon and prawns.

^Garden salad

^The meat platter

^The pasta

^Ham and pepperoni with bean gravy and mashed potatoes

All that at the price tag of RM510 - footed by our boss, of course. That comes down to about RM73 per head. Frankly, we had a much better experience at El Cerdo.

Check out the next blog post on our post-dinner activities.