Monthly Archives: October 2008

Recycling Campaign

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for as long as i can remember, the Malaysian govt has been trying to implement this for umpteen years now but still, look how far have we progressed?

honestly, how many ppl do you know separates their tins/cans, paper materials, glass/bottles, recycleble items from the general trash we throw everyday? i’m not talking about just the newspaper ya. let’s admit it, it’s so much easier sometimes just to throw the finished can into whatever bin we see after we’re done with it.

i realized that although Bratislava (Slovakia’s capital) is not as advanced as KL, and although most of them don’t know where in the world map Malaysia is; their govn is able to implement recycling more effectively than ours! *digress: but they know where Thailand and Singapore is. funny huh?*

our country has got so much potential – and yet, most of those in power chooses to continually fight over petty things (like the use of the word Allah), abuse their status and authority (putting innocent ppl into ISA hold-up), disputing over racial issues (ketuanan melayu) incessantly … etc. can they stop for a moment to take their eyes off themselves and start to think of what’s good for the country as a whole?

ok, i’m digressing even further here. was going to talk about recycling here in Bratislava.

what they do:

1. no plastic bags provided for shopping groceries. if you want one, you’ll have to pay for it. (maybe like RM0.05 a piece). all the shops except boutiques have similar rules, even IKEA! but we noticed that only Tesco gives away plastic bags for free… which we use as rubbish bags.

2. almost everywhere has recycle bins esp at residential areas, even in the malls. Malls have those really nice, small ones.

3. because they’re encouraged to recycle, ppl buy their own shopping bags or trolleys, we have our own for grocery shopping.

tesco green grocery bag

tesco green grocery bag, 100% organic

shopping trolley

shopping trolley

4. take outs – i went to a nearby cafe here one day and ordered a take out cake. they put the slice of cake unto a piece of small hard paper, and then wrapped it in paper. no box, no plastic bag. i’m not so sure about soups tho… hmmm, i should try and find out. but with food, they use a styrofoam box.

5. fresh markets – they use plastic bags, but only if you don’t have your own bag/trolley.

6. bottle dispenser – you know we have can drinks dispenser or coffee dispenser, well this machine is for bottles. there’s a hole in the middle where you push one-by-one the used bottles into the machine and after you’ve finished, you get money from it. it’s in one of the malls.

not sure about offices and if they do recycling with the used paper and all though, but i’m pretty confident they do too.

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WARNING: Readers’ Discretion Advised

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update: today (20/Nov) i was at the police hq again to reapply for my visa application, and according to my agent, they have accepted the documents. now applying as per my passport name under ‘Choong’ instead of ‘Leong’. however, we’re still waiting for the Apostille for the Marriage Cert and my Non-Criminal Record from home. so… since the agent confirmed again that it’s totally fine with me going about; i don’t have to hide :P, i guess i won’t be making a trip back after all. we’ll just wait for the documents to be done and sent over from home and then the process of endorsement for the visa will begin.

today was a cold day with temp at 8*C, the wind was blowing mad and it was also drizzling. After i passed my medical check-up, i had to go to the police station for some verification on my visa/residential permit.

for starters, let’s go over what the requirements were for the medical checkup which i think is er… EXTREME?… EXTENSIVE?…IN-DEPTH?

the night before the medical checkup, Peter (who’s with the expatriation agency) dropped by to hand me 2 plastic test tubes. 1 for urine, 1 for excrement. ooookay, i’m familiar with the first one but ah, what kind of ‘creative measures’ am i to use to ‘extract’ the other one, says here it needs to be at least the size of a pea…. i won’t go through the details here.

at the clinic the next morning, as i waited my turn to go in, i noticed the several people in the waiting room were all non-locals. guess this is the place where all expatriates go for their medical check-up. when in the room, the first thing they ask is,

‘are you pregnant?’

NOOoooooo, i’m not. phew! still too soon. then they started to prick my right arm for blood sample… and they took 3 test tubes! what the heck – why so many? when i went back that day i nearly pengsan (fainted). well i kinda did, so grateful that Ayl was there to look after Arielle. think i was KO for 2 straight hours. anyways, back to the clinic.

so after the blood sample, they gave me a looonng cotton bud and a compatible plastic tube. er, i looked puzzledly at my translator… did i just hear this correctly? you want me to go into the toilet over there and do what with this? ah… i see, stick it into my butt-hole rectum and put the cotton bud into the tube and place this sticker with my name on it. ah-ha… sure! No, NO PROBLEM!! *crossed-eyed*

did i mention already that the test was IN-DEPTH? hmm…. indeed!

thankfully, the worst is over. after that, i went into another room with a lady doctor who’s obviously going through menopause, either that or she’s a racist! haha.. or she might just be having a bad day *shrugs* whatever. but she talked to me as if i can’t understand a word; like i’m stupid or something, until later i earned her smile with my medical knowledge of ‘congenital hole-in-the-heart’ condition. i showed her! 😛 it’s supposed to be a cross-examination where the doc asks you about your current condition and medical history, and also about your family’s medical background. after that we went for the x-ray and then an eye test. and it was finally over!

so today, Arielle and I were at the police station. We had to be there in person for the authorities to see but there were some complications. Arielle had no problems coz her name is Leong but because my passport’s name is Choong and not Leong even after marriage, they’re confused and they’re unable to proceed. Don’t know about other countries, but in Slovakia, once a lady’s married, all formal documents with their names will change to that of their husbands, which is not the case at all in Malaysia. we retain our maiden names in our IC and passports.

so that is a problem! because, 3 months is coming up, and if i still don’t get my visa approved, i need to be out of the big EU, not just Slovakia! don’t know who’s going to bear the cost… but i’ll need to get out. hopefully it doesn’t come to that coz i dread the long flight. the only place i can go is back home right? and of course i’ll have to bring Arielle along…what leave her with Ayl?? LOL!!

Catholics are Christians…no?

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was just reading a blog on a celebrity who was rumoured to convert his religion to Christianity from being a Catholic and there were numerous comments made that Catholics are already Christians; so what is the big deal and so on.

my mom is a Catholic, and i’m a Protestant, is she a Christian?

she was brought up that way, her side of the family are Catholics but some of them have converted to being Protestants a few years ago. and because of that, there’s conflict sometimes when they get together. to my mom, she is a Christian because Protestants and Catholics believe in the same God, who is Jesus Christ and the Holy Trinity.

as for me, i grew up with what my paternal family believed in (Taoism) and then later i found salvation and became a Protestant when i was 19. it’s nearly a decade now. personally, i’d like to see my whole family saved, so i’d like to think that my mom is a Christian – i’m hoping and praying that she believes and confesses that Jesus is her only Saviour, though i know she still prays to Mary.

Genuine Korean Food

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on saturday we made a trip to Vienna to check out the infamous fresh market we’ve been hearing from friends. we made our move after breakfast and drove about 1 hour by highway to get there.

our first stop after parking our car was supposed to be a Jap/Korean restaurant offering buffet; not sure where so we just walked around and hoped to find it, but along the way, we got really hungry so we just picked the nearest restaurant that serves Korean/Jap food.

the place looked small and empty and there was only 1 person managing the shop who i’m assuming, to be a woman in her late 50’s or mid 60’s. ayl was thinking like a typical Msian; the ‘kiasu’ syndrome;

‘let’s look for a place with a lot of ppl!’

so much for that, we were starving and near death what with the cold wind blowing. inside the restaurant, the lady is a Korean, so we reasoned that we better order Korean (they serve Japanese and Korean). you wouldn’t want to order your dim sum from an Indian chef right? the place is called Nagoya.

the lady was really friendly, is it because we’re the only customer there? hehe…

we ordered miso soup, 1 small chicken dish (japanese) and 2 other main Korean dishes. soup came first and at the first sip, all prejudices we had against the restaurant vanished! then the lady brought a bowl of rice and some soya soup in it…and she mentioned it’s for Arielle. how sweet is that!! i’m convinced that most Korean women like children. either that or Arielle’s really cute; coz she’s got pretty big double-eyelid eyes…quote unquote Soo.

we gobbled everything up when the rest of the food came, along with oh-so-delicious Kimchi!! with nearly every bite, ayl and i were like ‘mmmmm’, ‘aiyoo…’, ‘so nice!’, etc… we just couldn’t stop. and i must emphasize one thing, the genuince Kimchi that i had that day is nothing like what we have in Msia. it’s sweeter (but not with sugar), and it doesn’t have that strong vinegar smell. it’s so good that even ayl has gotten a liking to it, much to my surprise.

the best thing of all is, when all the dishes came and we started eating, the lady came and offered her hand to babysit Arielle! oh wow… that was the best, could be the reason why we enjoyed eating so much coz everytime we go out, one of us need to finish the meal first in order for the other one to eat in peace. Thank God!! you won’t understand the relief that is unless you’re a parent yourself.

after i’ve finished eating i went over to ‘talk’ with her, she speaks Korean and German, no English, and saw a Bible on the table she was occupying with Arielle. 🙂 God bless her kind soul! according to Soo, 60% of Koreans are Christians.

i don’t know how to explain the feeling we had after the meal – but, it sure warmed us up inside and it felt like home. we’ll definitely be back.

we made our way to the fresh market after that, and was surprised to find sooo many things! lot of chinese shops here selling all kinds of stuff from Asia. so happy to find them and get ingredients from here. but it’s kind of far to be making the trip all the time. but the thing is, we can’t find any of these here at Bratislava, but some of it Soo has it at her shop in Seoul Food.

yea, pictures are blurry coz i took it with my handphone. last min the cam battery gave up. all in all, it was a good trip. just that the highlight of our day was taken over by the food we had at the restaurant – hehehe… what to do. we’re Msians!

On the Moon and Sun

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last night’s moon was really full and bright. when i turned off the lights and was trying to put Arielle to bed, the moonlight shone in to our room through the balcony glass door. both of us laid on the bed and stared in appreciation of it…or maybe it was just me. *shrugs*

i wondered if those back home got the same kinda moon we had here. and then my mind remembered something funny.

back in uni when i was in 2nd year, i moved out of the dormitory and stayed in a rented house, sharing with 8 or 9 other people. so it was during one of our conversations we had at home that i was again boasting about how lovely and yadda yadda yadda about my hometown Penang, and this and that. and i was talking to them (mostly engineering students) about the sunrise and sunsets we get to see at the beach in Penang and so on.

then, one of them asked me;

‘you can see the sunrise in Penang mer?? i tot Penang’s in the west of Malaysia, so how come you can see sunrise? are you sure?”

with his face like i’ve just told a lie or over-exagerrated something. er… i was a bit dumbfounded. hmm… i know that engineering Ss are ‘kayu’, but i didn’t know them to be dumb thaaat KAYU!! so i replied; ‘in that case, we’ll have to go all the way to Terengganu or Kelantan to see the sunrise! oh wait, that’s not where the sun rises either, not east enough. why don’t we just go to Japan you know, ‘the land of the rising sun’?’

DUH! lol!

(no offense to engineers or engineering students ya, it was just one particular friend who happened to be in the engineering faculty, who also happened to be that blur)