Ending The Year 2014


najib golf

(Not everyone can be the PM – very, very hard at “work” overseas. Some had said that there is nothing wrong for a leader to take a break. Well, that is correct but not when the country is seeing one of the worst floods around. The big mamma still on holiday, its so seems – no one had seen her wading through the high water in downtown Kota Bahru. Image source)

Before I go further, my deepest condolences to the family and friends on those were abroad the Air Asia Flight QZ8501 – the 3rd tragedy in the year that involves a Malaysian linked airline. I don’t know why Malaysians had to face this – not once or twice but three times in the same year. MH370 is still missing and MH17 just had to be at the wrong place, wrong time and QZ8501 must have met mother of all storms. One just hope that there will be some kind of closure in 2015.

Heartfelt prayers also goes to the flood victims in the East Coast (and also in the West Coast now) that saw one of the worst flooding since 1971. Prepping is no longer a joke – with such flooding is due to be a yearly affair, we need to look at prepping in a wider scope. Management of the rivers and coastal areas would be critical aspect of prepping from the Government. Citizens on the other hand should look into making their homes to be flood-proof or have an alternative place to stay and of course with proper stockpile of food and water. Stories piling up on instances of people running out of food and water and the situation looks hopelessly lost. Nonetheless it is a grave reminder of things to come. The more we put off prepping for such instances in the coming years, the more painful it is going to be. It is a reminder to me too as I have been focusing less on prepping in 2014.

My own 3 weeks break came and went without a blink and I will be soon be traveling again on work assignment. My flight back to Malaysia was scheduled to take off at about 8 plus in the morning and knowing that I need to be in the airport at least 2 hours before boarding and it is about 1 hour plus from the apartment to the airport, I booked a taxi to fetch me from the apartment at about 4 in the morning (that taxi driver came and waited for me since 3.30 am!). With the taxi booked and all luggage packed for the trip back home by 9 pm, I contemplated of taking a short nap. The night was still early and I was sure that I could woke up at 3 am. Just when I was to jump on the bed, I had a dreadful vision – the alarm ringing but I casually switching it off and going to bed, only to wake up at 10 am in the morning. I did not want to miss my flight, so I made a big pot of coffee and watched movie on TV. Good thing I was not feeling that sleepy and hours went off fast. A good shower in the wee morning ensure I was awake as I took the luggage down to the awaiting taxi.

I must have dozed off in the taxi – there was a bump and when I opened my eyes, we were just arriving at the airport. Another long wait for the airport for the check-in and breakfast but at least I was at the airport.

wolf

(Although I was disappointed on missing some of the titles that I saw in the previous year, this should be enough to last me until the next Big Bad Wolf Book sale)

When I came back home, instead of the usual nap I often take whenever I come back from overseas, I had to go off and do some work for the house (haircut however came first before anything else). My kids were excited to see me back, so they hardly allowed me to catch up on my sleep. Then at night, we went to the Big Bad Wolf Book Sales and I spent almost RM300 on books (this time around, my choice of books was less compared to the stack that my son had). It was however worth the trip – RM300 bought us almost 3 boxes of new books.

We came back late and decided against driving off to north in the morning (you see, I had promised my son to take him to the water park in Ipoh for the holidays). We decided to go after lunch which was not so bad as the traffic by then was fine and we did not have to slow down in many areas. The only “funny” thing that happened was my car door automatically unlocks itself and locks again when I press the brakes. By the time, we reached the in-laws house to stay for the holidays, it was already evening and my relatives were coming back from work. We stayed up late again, chit-chatting and watching movie. I was already feeling like zombie when I finally went to the bed (I was given a room of my own) but had a very disruptive sleep because I had to wake up a few times at night going to the bathroom (had too much to drink).

In the morning, the weather was great but I had something to do first – go and fix my car central locking. Still remember when it unlocks and locks itself when I was driving? It became worse – I found the car unlock when I went to check on it in the morning. That means if I lock up the car, a few minutes later, it will unlock itself and that is all that was needed for a car jacker to have an easy access to my car. I called the service centre and good thing was they had few cars on service schedule in the morning. The mechanic “managed” to fix it within 30 minutes – loose wiring they said. Happily I took the car out and barely 100 meters from the service centre, the problem started again. I drove back and this time, the mechanic followed me in the car. It was apparent then, that he had not fixed the problem. He took it back to check and this time, it took him almost 2 hours (including replacing the whole central locking mechanism) to get it right. Almost half day had gone by then. I went back and seeing that it was too late to go to water park, I decided on something that I have been holding back for past few days – catching up on my sleep.

rain

(I think this is Kuala Kangsar after our lunch in Chemor – we made a pit stop here because there is a famous bakery here where we wanted to buy bread. Situation was not ideal to bring the kids out for the fun day at the water park)

The next day, when we suppose to go to the water park, it started to rain cats and dogs. The situation looked gloomy. Even my son did not want to go out as the weather was very bad. My father in law however decided that we go for a lunch at one place he knows in Chemor (very near to the water park that we wanted to go). It was raining when we left the house, it was raining when we were on the highway and it was getting even worse when we drove into Chemor town. After parking the car at the back of the a small restaurant (it looked quite old as well) and struggling with the umbrella in the heavy downpour, we managed to get the 2 car load of people in front of the restaurant. We walked in and the atmosphere immediately changed. Inside was very modern and roomier. Lunch was extraordinary with my son ordering spicy crab curry and a good load of crabs to go with it. It was still raining when we left the restaurant and decided to take the old road instead of the highway and drive through the places where my grandmother used to live.

The so-called break from work at my in-laws place ended up with a bang (literally). We head back home on a working day, hoping that the highway would be free (and it was indeed) and the ride would be more pleasant. Nearing KL, things started to slow as we caught with the on-going road works with 2 of the 3 lanes closed. The traffic started to move slower and at some places, it was almost bumper to bumper. It was just after lunch time too and things was getting were warm in the car (despite the air-cond high). That coupled with the crawling traffic started to show its ugly side – I was falling asleep.

Often there was enough space in between for me to recover and stop the car but this time, there was none. Just when I thought of stopping at the next R&R, I must have dozed off as the next thing I realised is that I have bumped into the car in front. For moment, I was blur on what had happened. The driver came out and started looking at his bumper. Fearing the worst, I came out from the car, expecting to confront an angry driver but instead the man looked at me and said that there was no damaged and extended his hands. I shook his hand, said sorry and went back to my car. Rest assured, I stayed wide awake the rest of the journey but I still stopped at the next R&R for a break (and also to check if there is any other hidden damage). Imagine if I had dozed off when the traffic was fast (and me traveling at 110 km/h) and rear-ended a truck instead. I must have done some good karma to walk away from this with nothing more than a word of “sorry” and an handshake.

2014 had not been a very good year but it has not been a very bad one too. I had good times catching up with my primary school mates – some not met for almost 30 plus years recently. Blogging had taken a very back seat this year with me hardly having the time (but not ideas – thanks to travels and good old Malaysian politicians) to blog. I traveled to a new country this year, met good friends there, enjoyed the food & culture and hope to go to another in 2015. Work compounded this year compared in 2013 but that was expected – when one moves up in the organization structure, there will be more responsibilities, tasks and plans.

Happy New Year everyone and I will see you next year!

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Big Boss’ Rules


Read these first:-

When my son was a baby (a very cute one too), he occupies one third of the bed with me and my wife taking one third each. But as he grew up, I find myself sleeping on the floor as my son takes up half of the bed (and moves around in his sleep) and my wife the other half. Of course, this does not happen all the time as he usually sleeps on the ground floor with his grandmother although if given the chance, he rather opt to sleep on my large comfortable bed and with the air conditioner running on high speed (I don’t mind either – anything for the Boss, eh).

So one day when my brother got married and decided to moved, we saw a golden opportunity to take “ownership” of my brother’s room and give it to my son instead. It was meant for him anyway, one day. We got for him a cabinet and drawers for his clothes, books and toys, a bed and more importantly a table & chair for him to use when he does his revision and homework. His room has a small fan and has an attached bathroom.

He is a big man now (so we told him) and thus we were sure that he needs his space and privacy. Of course, it took some coaxing and words of encouragement before he braved himself to sleep in his own room (it gets worse if he had watched some horror movie before going to bed). Sometimes we allow him to sleep on our bed and when he had fallen asleep, I would carry him to his bed (a feat I could no longer do these days).

D3

One day when I entered his room to clean up, I noticed a hand-written “rules of the room” pasted on his cabinet. The boss must have worked on it when he was alone in his room the night before and when we had told him to do his homework (now I know why he took hours to finish up his homework).

The rules (not sure for who) states this:-

  • Do not jump on the bed
  • Ask permission to play carrom
  • Do not read any private books
  • Make your bed after you sleep
  • Ask permission to play Saidina
  • Do not read any books on the bed
  • Sit on the chair if you are to do homework and read any books
  • Do not jump on the chair
  • Do not sit on the table
  • Do not mess any clothes in the drawer
  • Do not use the gel without permission
  • Do not play with the yo-yo without permission
  • Do not use the room watch to do any alarms
  • Do not play with the tissue paper
  • Do not play with the badminton racquet
  • Use the bookmark to mark the book page

I read the rules of the room a couple of times and to tell you the truth, I was immensely proud – he somehow had took charge of his room with his own “rules” (one of course does not necessarily applies to the Boss).

One thing that the Boss does not take ownership is the cleanliness of his room. Pieces of papers all over the place, books not arranged properly, bed not done up and often his school bag & school books thrown on the bed. Despite my wife constantly reminding him to keep his room clean and use the dust-bin in his room, it simply fallen on deaf ears. We had to tasked ourself to organise major housekeeping operation whenever we enter his room to clean up. It takes me almost the whole day to clean up and organise things in his room.

D2

And recently a strange graffiti had appeared on the wall just behind where he sits.

I asked him – who “drew” on the wall. My son who was busy with his homework, turned around, looked at the wall for a moment and casually and with a straight face said that he did not know who drew on the wall. I wanted to laugh for I recognised his “handy work” on the wall anywhere, anytime. No one else enters his room other than me and my wife. There was only one suspect and he was sitting in front of me, pretending not knowing what is happening.

I asked him again and I got the same innocent answer – “I don’t know who did it”. No point forcing him, I already know who did it. I replied “ok” and told him that I hope that whoever did this, must not do it again and should be more careful to take care of the wall.

Well, my son must have thought that I am referring to someone else because a few days later, new graffiti appeared on the wall. After a while, I decided not to bring this up to the Boss because in a way the room belongs to him and he is free to “decorate” it as he sees it fit. Besides I had planned to repaint the whole wall one day and hopefully by then he had grown up to be more responsible.

And the Boss do have big plans for his room and one day, he did talk to me on his “future plans” – he wanted the room to be painted bright orange (yes all 4 walls) and to add a huge air-conditioner to his room. He also wanted a flat screen TV (for his Play station – whenever he takes his 5 minutes break from doing school work) and a computer with broadband internet (he argues that he will use it for school work and nothing more. Ya right!).

Maybe by then, the Boss would draw up new rules. I know he would…

Sleepless At Home


Just a quick update for this week….

(The new Boss’ feet on a Giant’s palm – still a long way to go before we can allow the Boss to be independent and does not need us to keep a close eye all small things at night)

This blog was started long after our Big Boss was born otherwise this post below would have been a repeat. But then again, whilst the post is not a repeat but the actual experience is.

For the first few days, things was not so bad – with the new Boss in town, we had plenty of people “volunteering” to take care of the baby when it is time for sleep. But we knew that sooner or later, the tasks of taking care of the baby will fall entirely on us. And that means sleepless nights with the baby “waking up” every 3 hours for milk, change of diaper and sometimes a mere excitement. But before that, there was a need to rearrange the sleeping logistics for me, my wife, the baby and the Big Boss who in recent months have decided (without our prior approval) to sleep with us for a simple reason – it was warmer at his usual sleeping place.

At first, we decided that my son had to sleep in his usual sleeping place with the bed reserved for my wife and the baby. I decided to sleep on the floor with a thick blanket & a small mattress (which was surprisingly rather comfortable). We then thought of setting the alarm so that we will wake up on time for feeding and in between we were hoping to catch some sleep. Disruptive sleep for at least a few months was something we had long anticipated from the beginning and had mentally prepared for it. It all sounds good on paper but we soon found out that the baby had other ideas for the night. At first, the baby had been sleeping all evening long and just when we decided to go to sleep; the baby is so wide awake.

At first we thought it was the same as our son when he was an infant who often stay awake at night but keep silent and take his own time to sleep off. Our second baby was different – not only she is wide awake but also get restless once we switch off the main lights and turn on the smaller lights (it was too dark and she was not used to the sudden change of light in the room, I guess) and when we switch the main lights again, it was too bright for her to sleep off. It was tough to balance the ambiance in the room and this was the case for a few days until we had an idea and decided to switch on the bathroom lights and leave the bathroom door slightly opened. This leaves just enough light which balanced the overall lighting in the room – it was not too dark and not too bright. And we put a softer bed spread which did the trick – the baby sleeps off faster and somehow was less restless now.

But this does not happen all the time and to ensure an even “quieter” environment for the baby, I decided to sleep in my son’s room which helped a bit. I am sure in time, the baby will get used to my sleeping musical notes (aka snoring) just like how my wife have done (so I like to believe) but not for now. Damn, the baby is super sensitive and wakes at the slightest sound in the room – my deep breathing, pulling of the blanket loudly and even a simple turn of the body on the bed causes her to wake up and searches for the source of the sound.

But for now, a little peace and quiet and a dim light should be enough to lullaby the baby to sleep but the frequent waking up to check on the baby, to prepare for the feeding and lack of REM sleep does cause a major havoc in the morning when I wake up to go to work. I usually can wake up at the first ring of the alarm (sometimes even before the alarm rings) but now with 2 – 3 loud rings, I am still deep in sleep and only with “accidental” (if you can call it) awakening, I opened my eyes and realized that I was late for work and rush to shower. But it somehow felt “OK” when I opened the bedroom door to get ready for work and I see my wife, the Big Boss and more importantly, the baby is fast asleep. At least they are resting well now.

The saving grace of the whole affair is that I don’t work on the weekends and with most of us at home are available to keep an eye on the baby, we can afford to wake up late (although it is not for long) whilst the baby under the care of other family members. Yes, it is still a long way to go before we can march off the new Boss to sleep on her own bed but until now, it is night duty for some of us.

Living Longer


(A food for thought but it is bad news for me if there are more people on the road early in the morning)

(We all need our 8 hours of sleep – sometimes more – but waking up early has it’s advantages too. Image source: here)

I had an interesting chat with a colleague of mine almost a month ago who noticed me coming to office very early in the morning. He mentioned that by doing that I would be living longer by doing this.

I had forgotten about it until last week, when I read Glenn Bland’s Success – The Glenn Bland Method and there was an interesting passage on leaving to work early.

Today, I arise each morning at 5.30 and slowly begin to prepare myself for the day.

As the shower’s warm relaxing water flows over my body, I had formed the habit of thinking good thoughts. I look forward to the day with the great expectancy that good things are going to happen. I slowly eat a moderate breakfast and drive to the office arriving at 6.30.

Going to office at this hour of the day creates within you a tremendous feeling of power and authority. The beauty and peace of the early morning hours become a part of you. You literally feel that you are out in front of everyone else and you are!

In the olden days, when our forefathers were confined to agriculture, they will wake up very early to milk the cow and collect the eggs for breakfast and for sale before leaving for the farm to work on the land all day long. In the modern days, we no longer need to wake up early to work on the farm but we nowadays wake up early to avoid the insane traffic jams. I guess that is the “curse” of the modern world – better technology to ease our activities but in the same process increased our stress level.

No doubt, I am losing some sleeping hours by waking up too early and it may sound like a workaholic when others see me coming in early in the morning and late in the evening. But admittedly, the stress level is certainly at all time low because I leave the house early. I nowadays enjoy the music better and with fewer cars on the road, I arrived in a rather calm mode (except instances where some pesky motorcyclists wanting to be under my wheels so early in the morning). The air in the morning still fresh and I enjoy winding down the window and enjoying the fresh breath of air.

In the early years, when I used to wake up late and then rush to work – stress level is all time high and that usually get me in near fights with other motorists. Like one instance when I was queuing up after paying the toll when I noticed a queue jumper. I was like a possessed demon when I saw this queue jumper. For no good reason, I cut out and blocked this queue jumper. I kept blocking him until he was forced to join back to the correct lane. In that instance, I was lucky. The queue jumper was probably too scared to confront me and decided not to hit or overtake me. I may not been so lucky in the next time around – the next, I may be confronted by hardcore criminals with fatal consequences.

And in the journey to the office, I would be cursing those queue jumpers and road hoggers and that was not doing any good for my karma. And as I arrive in the office most of the time so stressed out, it does not go down that well with the rest of the day. Body aches and getting sick was prevalent – it comes and goes without warning.

But thankfully that was history. In my endeavor to beat the traffic jam (and avoid another close encounter with queue jumpers), I forced myself to wake up early and in doing so, I managed to avoid the usual queue jumpers and other “pests” on the road. It was not easy to wake up early – at first, I had 2 alarms to wake me up but nowadays, I can wake up before the alarm goes off. I can now afford to take my breakfast on a casual pace and whenever necessary, enough time for a quick nap before starting work.

So, what my colleague said last month make sense – he said that I am probably live longer with me taking the trouble to wake up early. There is less stress and something in the morning makes me “feeling of power and authority”

Read Also

2010 Reflection: Sorry, I’m An Idealist

Punctuality

9 Reasons to Wake Up Early

Sleeping problems? – Hypnotise yourself to sleep


I did not know that there is a “The Better Sleep Foundation” and “National Sleep Foundation” until I “googled” it up in the net. Gosh!

When I was doing my law degree whilst working full time, sleep was a luxury. Studying until 2.00 am and then waking up for work at 6.00 am, meant I only slept for 4 hours everyday for 6 days a week. The entire Sunday is used to “pay back” the sleep debt (hutang tidur). I recall once, I woke up at about 12.00 pm on a Sunday, took shower, took my “breakfast” (it was lunch) and went back to sleep at about 2.30 pm. I only woke up at 6.00 am on Monday!

According to The Better Sleep Foundation, the quality and quantity of our sleep can make all the difference in how productive we are the next day. They gave 10 tips on how to get the sleep we need and deserve:-

1. Maintain a regular bed and wake time schedule.
2. Establish a regular, relaxing bedtime routine such as taking hot shower and reading a book.
3. Create a sleep-conducive environment that is dark, quiet, comfortable and cool.
4. Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows.
5. Use your bedroom only for sleep and sex.
6. Finish eating at least two to three hours before your regular bedtime.
7. Exercise regularly. It is best to complete your workout at least a few hours before bedtime.
8. Avoid nicotine. Used close to bedtime, it can lead to poor sleep.
9. Avoid caffeine close to bedtime. It can keep you awake.
10. Avoid alcohol close to bedtime. It can lead to disrupted sleep later in the night.

I relook at the above “tips” and I noted that I am not doing some things right. I mean I doing this on the contrary:-

1. I don’t exercise regularly (a big problem with me). I do yoga (sometimes…well, let’s say occasionally) before going to sleep
2. I drink herbal tea (plenty of it too) minutes before going to sleep (I know, I know…bad habit)
3. If it is Saturday night out, count on me having some beers (ok I am being modest by using the word “some”) in my stomach when I go to bed.

Despite that, I sleep like the baby the moment (moment means 1 – 2 minutes) I on bed. What I do is that I hypnotise myself. Yes, you heard me…HYPNOTISE MYSELF. How?

This is how you do it:-

1. Imagine you are at the seaside; there is a light cold breeze
2. The beach sand is soft and comfortable
3. There is a big, bottomless hole on the ground, fully lighted (something like the one you see in Star Wars)
4. You stand at the edge, with your back facing the hole
5. You close your eyes and lean backwards into the hole
6. You fall backwards and you can feel the air blowing from below
7. You stretch out your legs and arms, just enjoying the fall

By the time I reach the stage 7, I am already dozing off and only will wake up the next morning, feeling fresh and well rested. I do not know about others but it works for me every time, no matter when I am sleeping

(Cartoon source: www.offthemarkcartoons.com)