Friday, November 22, 2013

2 months.

They say I'm doing fine. They say I'm strong. 

But, am I? Am I really?

I hope what they say is true.. Cos to be honest, I'm not so sure myself.

It's amazing how a smile and laugh can really cover up your feelings. OK outside but so broken inside. I have yet to heal fully from this tragedy but I am trying my best to take one day at a time. At times, I feel OK and happy but sometimes, I feel so miserable.

I envy my father, in a way. He was happy with his family, though not always peachy (like life is for all), but at least, he lived a full life. He lived to see his wife be a mother and grandmother, he lived to have four surviving children, to see two of his children get married and become parents and he lived to have four grandchildren. And despite him living on a teacher's not-so-big salary (and a pensioner's salary), he got to see the world. And not to mention the things he had done for the family... I mean, if that's not a fulfilled life, I don't know what is. 

And now, he doesn't have to endure the pains of this world anymore. I will always remember what my friend said to me when I asked for her advice on how to cope (she lost her mother last year), "This world is so dirty. The real world is where he is at now, babe. Eventhough it sounds cliche, but he is at a better place because this world, right now, is only temporary." What she said struck me. She was right. This world right now IS only temporary. We still have to keep fighting and be strong. 

Our whole life is a test. And we are being tested everyday. 

But for him, his test is over. All he has to do right now is just rest and sleep.

Oh.. how much I miss you, Ayah. There are so many things I want to tell you. How I wish you could be here, with us but that would be selfish of me cos you are at a better place, god willing.

I love you and I miss you. 







Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A month has passed.

It has been a month since my father passed away.

A month of feeling sad.

A month of tears.

A month of grief.

A month of mourning.

A month of coping.

A month of oversleeping.

A month of over tiredness.

A month of stress-caused gastric.

A month of loss.

A month of longing.

A month of memories.

A month of missing.

A month of emptiness.

It has been a month of sitting in the "roller coaster of feelings" too. Sometimes I feel OK, like I can take over the world but sometimes, I feel like breaking down, crying loudly in the car while driving to work or home. I feel safer crying in the car. Nobody's there to hear me. Just me and my thoughts. I feel so, so, sensitive right now. Looking through Facebook posts (especially about my father), pictures and videos can make me cry in a split second. And when I cry, it's really hard to stop. So, what do I do if that happens? I just let the tears flow out, hoping it will stop. And eventually, it does stop.

It has also been a month of pretending to laugh and smile. I laugh and smile on the outside but all I want to do is just wallow, be sad, be lazy and be depressed. But I know if I don't try to feel better, I'm going to be a mess so I try to be normal, in every way I can. And plus, I don't think people would want to be around with a sad, depressed person.. I don't want to make people feel uncomfortable, though.

Thankfully, I can function. That's important. Although not as fast as before, I can do work - translations, writing and stuffs. But sometimes, I get a bit spaced out.. And whenever I think about my father, I get these gastric pains. The doctor said gastric can be caused by extreme stress and a sudden change of events (I told him about my condition). No wonder.

Haih.

I'll be OK. I know I will.

I miss you, Ayah. Love you. Sleep well.


Thursday, October 3, 2013

A letter to my father

Dear Ayah,

It has been almost two weeks since you passed away and I am beginning to miss you even more. The first week seemed like a hazy dream.. Even though my body was there, talking to people, my mind was blank. I talked and talked, even forced a laugh and smile but I didn't feel anything. I felt (and still feel) really numb. And now, after a week plus, I am starting to feel like everything is real. The haze is starting to disappear and I'm really scared.. I don't think I am prepared to face reality. I'd rather be in the haze, to be honest. At least I won't feel too depressed...

I started work on Monday after being on leave for a week and even though I look okay, I still can't seem to concentrate. What seemed to be an easy translation work feels really hard and confusing now. But don't worry Ayah, I've discussed this with my Chief Editor and she was very understanding.. She even praised me on how honest I was.

I miss you so, so much, Ayah. It's hard to not let my mind wander on all those memories we had together. Me kissing you good night, the talks we had, the jokes we shared, your hugs, your "Hmmmm!" reply when I said I love you, everything, everything seem to be repeating like a broken CD. The thought of you not being there, sitting on your rocking chair in front of the house, waiting for me to come home hurts me deeply. But somehow, I still see you walking around the house, sitting in the computer room, smiling and laughing.

Oh god, this is so painful. I know I'm being dumb by writing about this, but I feel like writing helps. I guess it's true when they say writing is a form of therapy.

I wish you could see how beautiful your funeral was, Ayah. Behind the tears and sadness, there were so much love. Relatives and friends came and gave hugs like it was a normal thing, little Maira and little Arman's cuteness, running here and there whilst holding hands, their cute "Lailahaillallah" chants would definitely make you laugh. You would even be shocked at how affected Audrene was. She cried and cried and expressed her regrets on not being able to do all kinds of activities with you. She even said that she still has a lot of stories to tell you, Ayah...

Mum even expressed how proud she was (and how proud you would be) of us (me, kakak, Eja and Arief) siblings during the funeral. I wish you could see and feel the love on that day, Ayah. You would have been so, so proud of us.

Even though 25 years seem to be so short, your love and values will forever stay with me. Not once have I ever felt deprived of your love.. So, thank you, Ayah. Thank you so much for showering me with unconditional love and for instilling precious values that makes me what I am today (I still need to work on my inner strength though, I am not as strong as you or mum).

I hope you knew that you were loved.. And that your presence will certainly be missed.

You were the best father anybody could ever asked for. I am so proud to have been your daughter and I thank god for that. Alhamdulillah.

I love you, Ayah. So much.

Good night, my hero. Sleep tight.

Your little princess,
AleO.

P/S: "Ayah" is a Malay word and it means "dad/father". 

5th November 1946 - 21st September 2013


Sunday, September 29, 2013

Wake me up when September ends.

I am walking aimlessly in a dark tunnel and I feel so lost. Please wake me up from this dream.

My heart is aching right now.

I ache for my father's embrace, my father's laugh, my father's kisses, my father's smiles, my father's voice, my father's smell. Everything. I miss him so, so much it hurts.

Will it get better? Will I find my way out of this dark tunnel?

I have been asking friends who have experienced loss and all of them said that it's not going to be easy. One friend even opened up about her battle with depression for months and only feeling slightly better just recently.

To be honest, I am terrified of going to that depth of darkness and helplessness but sometimes, we can't help it. I know it's cliche to say this but we are only humans. People kept on saying be strong, stay strong but it's easier said than done. Every smile and every laugh seem so forced now but I need that to make me feel somewhat normal. I need that sense of normalcy.

Right now, I feel numb and I still feel like I'm stuck in this horrible dream. Everything seems to be blurry - I can't even remember meeting my friend a few days ago at McDonald's when she mentioned it earlier..

I hope time heals everything.

I miss you and I love you Ayah.


Love,
AleO.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

My Grieving Heart.

I had a nightmare last week.

I dreamt that my father passed away during a trip to Johor. I remember seeing my sister and her two girls crying, with frantic eyes in front of the elevator. I remember seeing the emergency hotel staffs and paramedics trying to resuscitate him, my mother crying on the edge of the bed, telling me that my father is gone. And I remember feeling like my world came crashing down.

I remember crying and hoping that he would make it eventhough, in my heart I knew that he was gone. I remember every detail but everything seemed so hazy. I remember locking myself in the toilet, crying, and praying to god that my father will be taken care of.

I remember being in the van jenazah, rushing to go back to KL and I remember seeing my brothers, sister-in-law crying and hugging. 

But it wasn't a dream. It was real.

A real nightmare that I am just waiting to wake up from.

It has been a week since my father passed and I feel so, so empty. I feel like a part of me has been ripped off and what is left is just an empty hole. No words can explain how much I miss him, how much I long for his embrace, seeing him smile and laugh.

No words.

But I know he is in good hands, InsyaAllah. That is what makes me go through the day, knowing that he is OK. Safe to say, my father's funeral went on beautifully. There were so much love from families and friends. And that, I thank each and everyone's presence, from the bottom of my heart.

I love you so much Ayah. You were my hero, you still are.

I love you. I love you. I love you.

AleO.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Addiction: CURED



I can proudly say right now that I am Candy Crush free!

You can read my addiction with Candy Crush here 

No more Candy Crush, no more imagining candies floating and thinking about those damned chocolates and steels.. NO MORE.

I've deleted the app in my phone a few months ago and to be honest I feel better and happier. Please don't think I deleted it out of my own will.. it takes a level to make a person give up. And yes, I have given up at level 266.

Level 266 is such a PAIN in the a**. I tried and tried for many, many months but apparently Candy Crush doesn't love me anymore. So, I took it as a sign and stopped playing before I go mad. Seriously mad. And to be honest, I was on the verge of becoming mad - I didn't get enough sleep, my head started to get really heavy and my heartbeat was beating really fast...

So one day, I gathered all my strength and clicked "uninstall" and I felt... relieved. 

Right now, the only time I open Candy Crush (only restricted to the computer) is to give out lives and tickets. Mainly to my sister. Once in a while she'll whatsapp me asking for a ticket.

*Message/Whatsapp tone*

Sister: Gimme ticket!!!!

Me: Waiiittt... ok....

*Clicks Candy Crush in Facebook and send lives and ticket*

Me: Sent.

*Off Candy Crush and continue being normal.*

Goodbye Candy Crush, I hope we will NEVER meet again!

Addiction: CURED!

xoxo,
AleO.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Of The Conjuring.

Hello people of the world!

 www.imdb.com

Been a while since I posted anything.. I've been busy and am currently swamped with work but I'm just too lazy to do anything right now. Plus 20 more minutes before I go home..

So anyway, have you watched The Conjuring? Well, I have.

And it scared the crap out of me.

I think it has almost been a month since I watched that movie in the cinema and to be honest, I still get spooked. For weeks I would sleep with the lights on...

The thing about horror stories that it stays with me for quite sometime. Maybe I'm just a scaredy cat but... my mind REALLY loves playing tricks on me and I'll end up getting scared for no reason. 

But, as scared as I am, I am really hooked on horror movies. It's like I crave for it.. the thrill, the anticipation. And once I'm in the cinema, I'll scream. And my friends have to endure the sudden screams. Oopsie. Haha. I think horror movies are soo much better than roller coasters. But that's a whole different story...

Wanna play hide and clap, anyone?

Love, 
AleO.

Monday, July 22, 2013

My Ramadan story

The holy month of Ramadan has come to greet us all again.

It has been two weeks since I started fasting. So far, so good, thank god. I don't feel too grumpy as I don't feel too tired, hungry or thirsty. Another half a month to go..

Anyway, I think the energy I have has got to be because of the dates I have been eating during Suhoor. I wasn't really a fan of dates (I didn't like the taste and texture) but after reading about all of its benefits, I decided to give it a try.

I started with nibbling a small date. Bit by bit, the taste started to grow in me. The sweet taste and chewy texture were not that bad after all. Everyday, during Suhoor I will make a point to eat at least three dates - enough to keep me energized throughout the day! In fact, that day, I was able to finish up two articles in one day. Given the fact that I did not eat or drink the whole day, I still managed to finish up my work fast. Wehoo.

You know why? It's because of the dates! So don't forget to have a date during Suhoor, okay? *geddit? geddit?* Horrible pun, I know.

Anyway, I always believe that it's mind over matter when it comes to fasting. Sure, food is important during Suhoor (Heavy meal is importante to keep you energized!) but really, it's the mind. When your mind is strong, you can do whatever you want. Heck, some don't even wake up for Suhoor and they can still fast the whole day! I've never tried that before though..

Which reminds me of the time when my Chief Editor and I went to an assignment during last year's Ramadan. After we were done with the spa session (I had to write a review on the spa and was treated to a one hour of self pampering session), we were brought to this room to have lunch. Since I was fasting, my Chief Editor, who was a non Muslim, ordered Fish and Chips. I think she didn't feel comfortable eating in front of a fasting person so she asked me to join her. I politely declined (repeated declined more like it!) her offer even though the smell of that Fish and Chips was like heaven to my nose. Not only that, she was drinking a cup of cold orange juice. By that time, my throat was salivating for some sweet liquid goodness. I think at one point I even starred at the orange juice with my mouth slightly opened. Haha. Huh.. what a test! Temptations, temptations but I held my ground and said NO! :D

Plus, I really believe you have to start young to fast. When I say start young, I don't mean by forcing them kids but start slow, let them get the fasting vibe. For me, I started fasting when I was 5. I didn't fast the whole day though (that was impossible!) at that time but I started with half a day. I remember as a little girl, waking up for Suhoor was an exciting time - parents woke us up, food on the dining table, the clanking of plates and glasses, the morning cold air.. Plus, it was even exciting to see my sister and brothers' sleepy faces eating during Suhoor. All of them had grouchy faces and my brother, who was still a teenager even fell asleep when he was eating. Haha.

And me, being the small little girl observed them with my very inquisitive eyes. Eventhough I was sleepy, I woke up (when I can) to eat on the dining table, with my family and fasted during the day. Well, I fasted up until noon but still, I tried!  As I get older, my body started to get stronger and slowly, one month passed easily. And, not to forget, the rewards of fasting! For a little girl, rewards for fasting has got to be the ringgit earned. RM 1 = one full day of fasting. So if fasted for 5 days, I earned RM5!

Ohh the joys of being a little girl..

Well, anyway, it's already 3.21pm. 4 hours plus to go! I wonder what's for iftar? *grumbling tummy*

Bye-bye and have a blessed Ramadan, everybody!

Love,
AleO.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Asian wonders.

So I spent my weekend in Sarawak to attend the Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) and something really interesting happened to me on the way to Sarawak Cultural Village (where the festival was held).

To get to the festival, we had to take the shuttle bus from the hotel and since most of the seats were occupied, I found one next to a Caucasian man. We started chatting and I got to know that he was from Alaska. So every time this American man started talking, I noticed something really interesting. He was making sign languages to some of the words (Ya know, the sign language you do when you think people don't understand what you're saying?). Mind you, I was speaking English to him from the beginning.

To be honest, I was puzzled. What made this man think that I needed sign language? And to make it funnier, he was making those sign languages at the simplest of words like "eat", "go", "fisherman", "house arrest" - well, he told me he went to Myanmar and we got to talk about Aung San Suu Kyi who was on house arrest for many years. Oh talking about Myanmar, he asked me, "you know Myanmar? The country?".

Yes, yes I do know what Myanmar is. It's also known as Burma, by the way.

He even asked me if I know what BBC is. *Insert facepalm here*

Even when I told him that I am working as a journalist, he kept on with the sign language. I don't know whether to feel offended or not but I felt like saying to him, "Seriously? You think we live on trees or what? (Even if we did live on trees, we would still know how to speak Engrish - *the "R" is intended btw* and know a lot of stuffs too!)" So we went on talking and then, he asked me again, "Did you study in a university?" Well, apparently mentioning to him that I am a journalist did not work. And yes, I, like millions of other Malaysians are university graduates.

I feel like laughing whenever I think about the conversation I had with that man. But he was a nice person to talk with though, that I cannot deny. And we talked about a lot of things - I told him that here, in Malaysia, we are exposed to a lot of different cultures like the American culture, British culture, other Asian cultures, etc. And fyi, we are exposed to a lot of Hollywood movies too ya know. And songs. Not only do we listen to American songs, we listen/watch to a whole lot of other songs/movies too - Malay, Chinese, Indian, Korean, Hindustan, Spanish, French, Japanese, well you get the idea. I know, we're awesome. I even had the chance to teach him the Malay language pronunciation. Haa.

I have to admit, that was one of the most interesting bus rides I have ever had.

The little Asian young woman had fun talking to the tall Western man.

Haih mat salleh ni. Sabar je la.

Love *insert sign language here*,
AleO.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Of Rainforest World Music Festival.

Rainforest World Music Festival sign in front of the Sarawak Cultural Village

7 hands. Can you spot mine? :p

Have you heard about the Rainforest World Music Festival held in Sarawak every year?

Well, if you haven't, it's a 3 day music festival held in Sarawak Cultural Village. I have been wanting to go to this festival since forever but I haven't got around to go until my colleague mentioned it last year. So we quickly booked our tickets and flew to Sarawak on Thursday last week. This year the festival was held from the 28th June - 30th June.  

My colleague invited her friends so there were 7 of us. At first, I had reservations on traveling with people I don't know - I usually travel with my family or friends and since my colleague invited her friends, and I was the only one who didn't know any of them (well, except my colleague), I felt a bit... nervous. I don't consider myself a shy person per se but I do feel a little uncomfortable and nervous around people I am not accustomed to. I know, I know this should not even be an issue since I am a grown woman *ehem* and a journalist but ya know, feelings and insecurities started creeping in. I mean, what if the colleague ignores me? Or what if they don't like me? *gasp*

But thank heavens, everything went great. The colleague's friends were a fun bunch. I didn't feel left out or weird or even nervous. I guess my insecurities got a hold of me. :p

So the festival started in the morning - there were workshops and other activities during the day and the concert started at night. The music played in the concert consists of world music (ethnic music I suppose) from different parts of the world - South Africa, Ukraine, Ireland, Indonesia, Iran, Turkey, etc. So you can imagine the colourful music I was feasted with that three days! Definitely a worthy experience. Oh don't worry about food cause they had plenty of them - burgers, kebabs, rice..

I never thought I would appreciate these types of traditional music, to be honest because I usually listen to mainstream music but RWMF totally changed my perception. So many different cultures in one place, on one stage (well there were two stages - to avoid delay I suppose since they have to set up the instruments beforehand). Makes you realize that there are so many beautiful things to see and explore. Ahh the wonders of seeing different cultures...

Definitely a festival worth going again.

See you in a couple of years (or maybe next year?), Rainforest World Music Festival!

Here's a snippet of some of the performers. Enjoy!



Love,
AleO.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

World War Z!

Whoaaa.

Been almost a month since I last posted anything. Has it really been that long? I guess it has.. Well, to be fair, I was busy with the magazine and wrapping up for July. So now that everything's done (well, at least for this month), I finally have the freedom to relax. I even had a gif war with a friend in Facebook earlier to show how free I am. So right now, my head is full of moving, dancing pictures.. some disturbing ones too..
 
World War Z
(Image courtesy of the PR agency)

Anyway, any of you planning to go watch World War Z in the cinema? I suggest you go. NOW. I mean, seriously. Pick up your car keys and walk out that door and go buy tickets now! Because the movie is really, really awesome!

Two days ago, the colleague and I had the chance to catch the media screening of World War Z! Being parenting and baby journos, this was a HUGE bonus for us. We don't usually go to cool events like this cause mostly our events revolve around baby, mommy, health events (well, you get the idea) but sometimes we get cool invitations like this and my Chief Editor was kind enough to let us go and have fun.

And have fun we did. I don't really like spoilers, not even one bit. Heck, I don't even like watching trailers cause I feel it gives away parts of the movie so I tend to stay away from it most of the time (unless I'm in the cinema and they show trailers in there, which in that case, I can't run away from it). Well, all I can say about the movie that it was awesome. The pace of the movie was fast and there were no useless dialogues from the actors. And no useless conflicts too. And no useless icky, awkward kissing scenes. AND the zombies were super bad-ass.

Surprisingly, Brad Pitt was amazing. He really played out the dad/husband/hero character well. He wasn't that super strong, hair always in place, no injuries kind of hero but instead, he was really normal. A normal hero human being.

Oh crap, am I giving out too much? Ok, I'll stop here.

*zips mouth*

But in all seriousness, I highly recommend this movie. Even if you're not a zombie fan, YOU. HAVE. TO. WATCH. IT.

So after the movie, the media were treated to lunch (of course) and the LIVE! Experience of World War Z at Sunway Scream Park. The LIVE! Experience was okay. I can't say it was really scary (eventhough I screamed a lot! Haha. Yes, I'm a screamer!) but it was creepy. Zombies kept on popping everywhere. I even got disoriented at one point because of the turning mini bridge and I wanted to get out as soon as possible.

Not a bad experience for this parenting/baby journalist. Not bad at all.

Well, World War Z opens today in the cinema. And don't forget to WATCH IT!

Love,
AleO.  

Monday, May 27, 2013

Sleeping.

Tis the time to be jolly and merry again!

For the magazine has been sent to print and I am a free woman!

Well.. At least until my chief editor hands me more assignments for July.

But still!

Lately, I have been having trouble with sleeping on time. I think me playing Candy Crush and watching Youtube videos are huge parts of me sleeping late. So every morning, I will have difficulties waking up to work. And right now, I feel so, so sleepy.

But I can assure you, when I go home, I won't sleep. I'll watch tv, read a book, Candy Crush, Facebook, Youtube, etc..

Well you get the idea.

Damn these technologies. They are robbing me out of my sleep!

But then again, no technologies mean no Candy Crush or Youtube or even Facebook.

Well. Til next time.

With that, I leave you with this really, really cool song and video I simply cannot get enough of. Robin Thicke and Pharell in one song? And T.I too? Genius.



Thursday, May 2, 2013

Of Herpes Simplex Keratitis

No, I don't have that kind of herpes.

But I have the eye kind.

Whaaaat? Herpes virus can enter the eye?

Apparently, it can. And in my case, I have been having it for almost five months. And it is starting to drive me crazy.

It all started back in January when I drove from my brother's house when suddenly, I felt a sharp pain in my left eye. Whenever I tried to open the eye, it felt so painful and sensitive. Not only that, it was red and watery. To make matters worse, I was driving alone and there was no place to stop. But thank god I got home safe (luckily my brother's house wasn't that far).

I gave it a few minutes for it to be okay, and it did. It went on for a few days until one day, it became really painful and sensitive (like the one I felt in the car) so we went to the hospital. Long story short, the doctor said my eye got infected with the chicken pox virus. Since I've had chicken pox when I was small, the virus didn't go away. Most people still have that herpes virus (the herpes virus can cause chicken pox, btw) in the body but mine went to my eye and well, reactivated. What triggered it? The doctor said it could be many reasons, like stress or whenever the body's immune system went down.

When I thought about it, the day I felt that sharp pain in the eye, was a day after I got conjunctivitis. So I guess that triggered it. Since it's a virus infection, they gave me Aciclovir and I had to put that in my eye for five times a day. And I got 8 days of sick leave (which was awesome, no complains here :p)

But that was five months ago.

Initially, my eye felt okay but then, one fine day, the virus reactivated and I had to start back with the five-times-a-day of Aciclovir routine. Until now, it's still hasn't healed (well, on and off).

I am now writing with my left eye closed and it is very painful, watery and red. And I can't open my eye properly (which explains it being closed lol). Ever since this happened, I didn't feel that agitated and felt okay but now, to be honest, I'm starting to feel a bit impatient and well, pissed. 

Why hasn't it go away? I've been putting the medicine religiously and it's still there!

The doctor said the virus is in my eye nerves (the virus got in my nerves - excuse the pun), so it's harder to make it go away. And oh yeah, they said I am allergic to Aciclovir because the skin surrounding my eye is red, swollen and really, really dry. So now, I look like someone punched me in the eye and I have been looking like this for five months (give or take). FIVE MONTHS.

Antivirus, reactivated, virus - I feel like I'm a computer. Like a virus infected computer. Ha!

I am known to have eye infections ever since I was little. Some people might have frequent headaches or fever but for me, eye infections. So I guess, this is the mother of all eye infections for me.

Since not many people have heard about this chicken-pox-virus-in-the-eye thing, here are a few symptoms to look out for:
  • Sensitive and painful feeling in the eye whenever you try to open it
  • Red and super watery eye
  • Sensitive to bright light (I couldn't open my eye and had to stay in a dark room. Technically, I became a vampire)
  • The infected eye doesn't feel itchy but painful and sensitive
Keywords here are PAINFUL and SENSITIVE (NOT ITCHY). If you've experienced these symptoms, I suggest you go to a doctor immediately - specialist hospital to be exact because sometimes, they misdiagnose it as conjunctivitis. When I first got this, I went to a clinic and they said it's just a normal eye infection. But we insisted on a referral letter to a specialist hospital and went straight after. Even at the hospital, they said it looked normal but they found the problem when they checked my eye with the blue, florescent light thing. 

Thought about posting a picture of my eye but I just couldn't. It's too awful and ugly. Eeks.

You can read more about this here, in WebMD

Monday, April 29, 2013

An addiction matter.


 Candy Crush Saga

Hi everyone, I'm AleO. and I'm a Candy Crusholic.

My addiction started about a month ago when I saw my colleague playing Candy Crush Saga in the office. By that time, I knew what it was from the frequent posts in Facebook but I wasn't interested. Yet.

All of that changed when I downloaded the app in my phone.

What started as an innocent trial thing turned into an ugly addiction.

At first glance, the game seemed pretty easy and innocent - with colourful candies, cute, inviting music and those delicious sound of candies crushing, I was hooked instantaneously. I just loved hearing the Candy Man's voice saying "Delicious!", "Sweet!", "Divine!" and of course, the ever anticipated "Sugar Rush!"

The relief of completing a level (especially the hard ones) is unexplainable - it's like a mixture of happiness, relief and YES, I'VE DONE IT all at the same time. A big sigh of relief - and maybe a tinge of cockiness knowing that you scored the highest amongst your friends in Facebook.

I even like the sound of saying "Candy Crush" out loud. (Come on, try it! It sounds delicious and sweet, don't you think?)

Ever since Candy Crush Saga came into my life, I see candies dancing everywhere. When I'm not on it, I see them dancing in my brain, even when I'm hanging out with friends - I'll sit quietly and think about those deliciously annoying candies, plotting my next move. "I'll get you, I'll get you!"

I also avoid looking at the animated crying little girl whenever "Level Failed"
 
As of now, in the office, with tonnes of work on my desk, all I can think about is Candy Crush Saga. My heart is pumping fast and all I can think about is getting pass level 133. I try to avoid playing on my phone in the office because it will drain the heck out of the battery so I'll play it on the computer. (Fast tip: if you run out of lives in your phone, your life is still full in the computer. But I'm pretty sure you know about this already, don't you?)

My friends suggested I check myself in the Candy Crush Rehabilitation Centre but I'm just not ready yet. I'm pretty sure if I check myself in, I'll check myself out after a few days (or maybe a day?) - the LiLo of the Candy Crush world. Instead, I've come here, in the Candy Crush Anonymous Support Group.

What seemed like a happy place full of bright, colourful and delicious candies has turned into a dark candy forest with evil chocolates and candy "move" bombs. I am still waiting to crawl out of this candy darkness that I, myself am not ready to embark, yet. 

Bring it on, level 133. Bring it on.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Of Bindi and Robert Irwin, the Wildlife Warriors

Last week, I had the chance to meet and interview a wonderful young lady by the name of Bindi Irwin. If you're familiar with the name, she's the daughter of the late Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin.

I didn't know what to expect when I got my assignment - I even thought she was still the seven year old little girl who spoke on her late father's memorial. But she wasn't anymore. Instead, she's grown into a teenager now. A 14 year old teenager.

To be honest, I was quite surprised at how grown up she was when I saw her picture on the event invitation. Wow. Time really flies. It seems like only yesterday Steve Irwin left us.

Well, it was seven years ago (can you believe it?).

Bindi came with her mother, Terri and younger brother, Robert. I was quite surprised at how alike Robert is with his dad. They have the same blonde hair, eyes and mouth - with the exception of the hair (Robert's hair is quite straight and Steve was kinda curly). I even felt a tinge of sadness knowing that Steve was not there, they seem somewhat incomplete without the Crocodile Hunter himself.

So anyway, I got the chance to interview both of the Irwin kids and let me tell you, they were so matured and so poised. Even young Robert, who's only 9. Sure he's still a kid (he even spaced out when people interviewed Bindi), but when it was his turn to answer them, he answered it like a pro.

And Bindi was just lovely and smart. She was so enthusiastic (Robert too - reminded me of their dad) and lively. We (well, me mostly, I didn't know about the others) were even taken aback when she asked us what was our favourite animal at the start of the interview (She said that it's a great way to know what kind of a person you are by knowing your favourite animal) - definitely a great ice breaking session because I was feeling a bit nervous (yess, journos get nervous too you know! We hide behind smiles and questions but deep inside, we get nervous. Well, I get nervous. I don't know about the others.) Because I didn't see the question coming (and because I was the first one to answer - there were four of us, like a mini group interview), I answered the first animal that popped in my head - Lion. Why? she asked. I said the lion's really majestic.

When I thought about it, as much as I like lions, I like sharks more. The great white shark, to be exact. There's something about them that's so majestic and strong. They're so graceful and so, so beautiful. Even the sight of them can make someone weak to their knees and they look so respected. It's heartbreaking that the great white is close to extinction. Such beautiful creatures, killed for their fins. Ever since I watched how they cut off their fins, I have banned all shark made products - mainly shark's fins. STOP EATING THEM. PERIOD.

I even got the chance to ask her about the article she wrote for Hilary Clinton's e-journal on conservation. She wrote about overpopulation and the article was heavily edited. You can read the original and edited article here. It's pretty interesting, knowing that it was written by a teenager.

I had fun interviewing them - definitely a highlight. Plus, it's not everyday I get to meet the Crocodile Hunter's family. Great kids, and hope they would be great adults too!


The Irwin family


Love,
AleO.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Of Guns N' Roses

Ahh the 90s. The era of hard rock, grunge, cut off jeans and bad ass attitude. 

Don’t you just love it?
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I was still a chubby little girl back then and by chubby, I really mean chubby. And because of this chubbiness, my level of cuteness skyrocketed because I had cream puff of a cheek (well, two cheeks), red pouty lips and round, dark brown eyes. I swear, you would find me so cute, you would even want to pinch my puffed cheeks everytime you see me. Just think Michelin tyres and Marshmallow Man. 
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And of course, like any other little 4 or 5 year old girls, I was such an angel *batting eyelashes*
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An angel who listened to Guns N’ Roses. Pretty bad ass huh?
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Back in those days, my brothers were rambunctious teenage boys. And what do rambunctious teenage boys listened to in the 90s? Not New Kids On The Block, that I can assure you.
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American bands like Guns N’ Roses, Metallica and Nirvana were pretty big, even here, in not-so-tiny Malaysia. My brothers were the biggest Guns N’ Roses fans. They had cassettes and VCRs (much, much cooler than DVDs and MP3 players, IMO) and they would turn on their songs all the time. And me, being the sweetheart of a little sister, stayed in their room and listened to songs like Paradise City, Sweet Child O’ Mine, Welcome To The Jungle, Rocket Queen, Estranged, etc.. It was kind of funny thinking about it now because I didn't understand what the lyrics were but when I heard it, as an adult I was like.. "Whooaa! I heard THIS when I was small?" Hahaha.
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I can still remember the time when they taught me the names of the members.
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Older bro #1: Siapa ni (Who’s this)? *points to Duff McKagan*
Little me: Ohh.. tu (that’s) Duff McKagan!
Older bro #1: Dia main apa? (What instrument does he play?)
Little me: Gitar! (Guitar)
Older bro #1: Haa.. gitar but dia main bass (Yes, guitar but he plays the bass).
Older bro #2: Ni siapa ni (Who’s this)? *points to Axl Rose*
Little me: Axl Rose!
 
*Older bro #1 and #2 laughed and said very good!*
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And it went on to other members up to the names of their songs. And I aced each of their questions.
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I don’t really remember 100 percent of my days back then, but I remember sneaking into their rooms (when they were sleeping) and turned on the tv and watched their GNR Live in Tokyo and their music videos VCR. I remember sitting infront of the tv, just watching and marvelling at those bad ass boys. Axl with his long, straight, red hair, Duff with his puffy blonde hair, Slash with his Curly Sue-like hair and top hat, Matt with his clean, tattoo-free arms, Izzy with his cool sunnies and black vest, Steven Adler the small, blonde drummer and Gilby Clarke with his scarf dangling. 
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Of course, my favourite was Axl Rose, no doubt (because he was, and still is the lead singer) and I had a mad crush on Duff McKagan (still have. I read his columns every week on Seattle Weekly's website and am dying to get my hands on his book but Malaysia doesn't sell them. Sad.). There was something about him that made me feel all happy (still do). Maybe his mannerisms? I don’t know. I was little (no I'm not, now. I've turned a quarter of a century old). Lol.
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My mum used to use Axl Rose’s name to get me to bed by saying Axl’s kid goes to bed early (Of course, Axl didn’t have a kid but I was small, and believed anyway. Lol.).
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Fast forward 20 years later: There I was, the then 24 year old Journalist (it was 24th March and I turned 25 on 31st March) and my two 30 something brothers stood infront of the stage, waiting for our childhood ‘hero’ (well, MY childhood hero). 
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The man himself, Axl Rose. And Bumblefoot.
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As the sky began to darken, the excitement began to flare up. We could hear screams of GUNS N’ ROSES chants from the ever eager audiences (I might have chanted too, at one point). At 8.15pm on the dot (nope, they weren’t late!), the lights went off, screams began to get louder and music started blaring. 
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And there he was.. the man himself, Mr. Axl Rose, right infront of me, just centimetres away. All of those memories from when I was 5, the excitement, the happiness, all bubbled up in one big ball of emotion even I could not explain. I was so unbelievably excited and happy and grateful at the same time and even at one point, felt like crying. Now I know what those die hard crying fans felt like. I was THAT die hard fan. I told myself repetitiously to not cry and to get a grip (I’m pretty sure if I cried, the band could’ve seen me cos I was right infront). So I focused on the music and the moment and managed to suck it up. And screamed  and sang instead (I memorized ALL of their songs, well with the exception of their new songs but I know the chorus!).
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Though he was far from the young Axl Rose (with t-shirts and tights who ran here and there), the present Axl Rose was still bad ass! He ran here and there, just like when he was in his 20s, his voice was still powerful (loud but less screechy), and still so bad ass. Well, I guess that's what rockers are. A bunch of bad asses. Great bad asses.

Oh, I even caught the bad-ass vibes from Axl myself because I swore all the time (For example, I kept on screaming “AXL I F***ING LOVE YOU! F here, and F there) – which is funny cause I don’t usually swear (well, not infront of my brothers anyway. Lol).
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I even began liking Bumblefoot and DJ Ashba more (I wasn't really familiar with the new members before this) but after hearing and watching them play live, I was mesmerized. They were so good and so.. cool. Needless to say, they gained a new fan that night *ME*.
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There were so many highlights – There was this one point, Axl was singing and doing his thing, I of course, being the ever superfan, waved at him. He actually looked at me and waved back! I didn’t know what to feel at that point, I think I froze for a bit. Yep, I froze. Haha.
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My brother even got DJ Ashba’s guitar pick! So bro #2 was enjoying the performance and suddenly he felt something hit his nose. He thought somebody threw a pebble at him and looked down, LO AND BEHOLD, it was a guitar pick! Both bro #1 and I was in total shock and told him to quickly put the pick in his bag. Then, bro #2 looked up at DJ Ashba, who was doing HIS thing with the guitar and he saw Ashba gave him a small wink. I don't think anybody knew about this because Ashba was being sneaky.
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How awesome.
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All of the childhood memories, the songs, the happiness that entail with it, all brought up into that one memorable night I will never, ever forget.
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20 years worth of waiting. 
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As of now, with Rocket Queen in my ears, the excitement still stays within me. Whenever I hear a GNR song, I will always remember the night I went to watch them live. Thank you so much for rocking Malaysia! You guys were beyond great. This is definitely a story for the future kids. "Back when mommy was in her 20s, mommy saw this legendary rock band..." Well, you get the idea.
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And, what was really special, I got to share this wonderful experience with BOTH of my brothers, the ones who introduced me to GNR. I guess you could say we were a bunch of kids trapped in an adult's body that night. But, each of our adult bodies became really tired towards the end (I think adult Aleza's back wanted to break because of the standing-for-five-hours-plus but the kid Aleza TRAPPED in the adult body was raging to get out so.. Aleza was having conflicts with herself? Oh who am I kidding.) But it was all worth it.
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P/S. Because I am only a poor parenting journalist, I could not afford a RM500 something F1 ticket (GNR performed in the After Race F1 Concert) so my sister and parents offered to chip in for my birthday. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I love you all to bits and pieces. :)
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Oh, btw, I even got a reply tweet from Bumblefoot wishing me Happy Birthday! Ahh... turning 25 has never been so good :)
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Love,
AleO.


Monday, February 4, 2013

Zombies... in Malaysia?

Imagine this: You're walking on an empty pathway in the jungle, all alone.

As you walk, you realize something is lurking behind those bushes and trees.

You're curiosity is kicking in. What's behind that?

Then you see a man, from behind. You want to ask him for help but.. when he turns, you're horrified. He doesn't look right - his face is bloody, as if infected with some kind of horrible disease, has dead eyes and that's when you realize that he's not all human, that he's a zombie!

Well, that's what I felt when I joined Malaysia's first ever Zombie Run Malaysia 2013 last Saturday (2nd February)! I knew about this when a friend of mine posted on Facebook. I clicked on it and thought, wow, I just have to join this!

The run was something like Run For Your Lives held in the US last year. At that point, I wished that Malaysia would organize something like this and they actually did it!

I quickly gathered my teammates - my friend, Syaheeda, Syaheeda's friend, Sharyl, my colleague, Sharon and Sharon's friend, Wan (he was the only dude and of course, team captain lolz). The objective of the run was to get 5 tokens at each zone within 45 minutes. Groups with all five tokens with no casualties win the grand prize.

Well, our group did pretty well (I guess?). We got 2 tokens but suffered 3 casualties - ME, Sharon and Sharyl! Hahaa. Eventhough I got "eaten" (the zombies' mission was to take the lifestrap at the back of our vest), shoe-less at one point, fell and the wristlet I was carrying fell out from my pants, I had fun big time. Tried to run away from the zombies but my energy was so low, I crashed. That's when that red tshirt zombie got me. Arrrr.

All in all, I survived for 15 minutes. But that's okay, I expected only 5 minutes since I am not at all athletic. Haa. So, kudos to me *pats myself on the back*

The zombies looked really awesome. The organizers did a fascinating job, with their makeup and stuffs. There was a zombie bride, zombie Chucky, zombie witch doctor, zombie komando, zombie with baju kurung and more! Definitely and amazing, amazing experience!

Anyway, here are some of the pictures I took...


Us before the race.


Fresh meat hanging around, waiting to be eaten.


Took this right after I got killed. The Walking Dead for reals.


Zombies lair.

Would definitely join next year. Bravo to the organizers and bravo to the survivors!