6 Things I Learned from Kerlijne (and our travels)

Image source: blog.virtuoso.com

In early May 2018, just after I left my full-time job, I took a few days off to be a tourist in my own country, Malaysia. My travel companion was Kerlijne (pronounced ‘Caroline’), a Belgian colleague who is currently working in China. Kerlijne has worked in China since her Chinese studies in sinology. As I was contributing regularly to the e-newsletter at the China regional office where she is based, I communicated with her regularly via Skype.

Since I started working with her, I found her to be an open, friendly and sometimes comical character and we hit it off straight away. Our friendship deepened over time, and we decided to plan a trip together. It was my lucky day when she decided to come and visit me in Malaysia so that we could explore the sites together!

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Haiku (Feb – Apr 2017)

16 April 2017

Flowers, forest walk
And a lake, a cute squirrel
Brings me love and joy

I float in the lake
Healed by the sun, sea and sand
Universal bliss

9 April 2017

A power failure
Chance to unplug and focus
On air and stillness

9 April 2017

Girls get together
Games, banter and baked goodies
Grateful for the love

16 March 2017

The body crashes
Into an ill weakened state;
Time for a good rest

5 March 2017

A sudden downpour
Water flows, rises and forms
Large puddles, a flood

22 February 2017

Coconut chips, with
dried and sweet cranberries, stirred
into my warm oats

21 February 2017

Coconut milk rice
Spicy sambal, nuts and egg
Tickle my tastebuds

From Dust to Dusk

Hello readers! I’m back after a short hiatus.

So, what kept me busy? In July, there was a personal trip with friends to celebrate our other halves’ 40th birthday. Following that, my family and I travelled to Phuket for the wedding of my second cousin. September beckoned next with some long holidays, so my hubby and I went on a short getaway to Bukit Tinggi, Pahang. I’ve also been busy writing up a series of articles about my trip to Central Vietnam earlier this year. I plan to feature more Travel posts in my blog, but have been overcome by the procrastinating devil. But rest assured, I’ve saved a few blog posts in the Draft which I will publish very soon!

I have also been busy continuing with my decluttering the KonMari way. I’m glad to say that I managed to get out of my decluttering rut, moved past Kitchen and now I’m onto Accessories/ Jewellery and will move onto Sentimental items soon. (By the way, the reason those words are bold is because these are actually sub-categories in the KonMari method. If you don’t know about the method already, here’s a good intro article by Dr. Christiane Northrup.)

While driving home from work last week, I saw this absolutely gorgeous sunset in my neighbourhood. I am always in awe with sunsets, they make me so happy and wistful at the same time. There’s something about the changing of day to night which is so magical, I think. Right after I took the photo, I wrote a short fictional prose for the photo. Go on, read it and tell me what do you think?


Sister Day, Brother Night

Day lit up the sky in fiery hues and dressed itself in golden tones in honour of its last hour awake. She will not go without a grand celebration. Soon, she must gently step aside for Night to enter, sashaying in with grace. Night carries with him the velvety blanket of darkness, quickly enshrouding the sky, merely dotting it with pinholes of starlight and reflections of planets afar.

“Have a good run,” Day said to Night, winking her last light at him as she exits gracefully.

“Have a good rest,” Night replied, as he blew a light breeze to cool her down. “I shall see you, sister, in 12 hours,” he whispered. “Sweet dreams.”

Book Review: Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell

‘Everybody likes everything these days. The whole world is a nerd.’

‘Are you mad because other people like Star Wars? Are you mad because people like me like Star Wars?’

If you broke Elena’s heart, Star Wars would spill out. So when she decides to queue outside her local cinema to see the new movie, she’s expecting a celebration with crowds of people who love Han, Luke and Leia just as much as she does. What she’s not expecting is to be last in a line of only three people; to have to pee into a collectible Star Wars soda cup behind a dumpster or to meet that unlikely someone who just might truly understand the way she feels.

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2016 Birthday

Well, 2016 has been a really special Chinese New Year first day and birthday, a 2-in-1 celebration.

Thank you to everyone who stopped by on my Facebook wall to wish me Happy Birthday and also to all those who sent personal Whatsapp messages or called. Being such a busy time, I appreciate your messages even more, so thank you!

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Book Review: The Terrible Thing That Happened to Barnaby Brocket

There’s nothing unusual about the Brockets. Normal, respectable, and proud of it, they turn up their noses at anyone strange or different. But from the moment Barnaby Brocket comes into the world, it’s clear he’s anything but ordinary. To his parents’ horror, Barnaby defies the laws of gravity – and floats.

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Book Discussion Summary – Station Eleven

Book title: Station Eleven
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian, Post-Apocalyptic
Author: Emily St. John Mandel
Date of discussion: 25 October 2015
Average rating: 7.2/10


This book discussion summary was originally written by Vivian Ong for members of The KL Book Appreciation Club, published in the group on November 3, 2015.

A novel of art, memory and ambition, Station Eleven tells a story about the relationships that sustain us, the fleeting nature of fame, and the beauty of the world as we know it. Spanning decades, moving back and forth in time, and vividly depicting life before and after the pandemic, this suspenseful novel is told in a beautiful, dreamy prose.

The thread that connects these stories is Arthur Leander, an aging Hollywood star who, on the same night that the plague began destroying civilization, was trying to reboot his career when he died on stage in Toronto during King Lear. As Arthur falls in and out of love, as Jeevan watches the newscasters say their final good-byes, and as Kirsten finds herself caught in the path of the prophet, we see the strange twists of fate that connect them all.

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Book Review: Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffeneger

I read The Time Traveller’s Wife (TTW) a few years ago and it wowed me. I couldn’t stop thinking about the book for days. The love story, Sci-Fi elements, characters and well-told story lived in my memories as I slowly absorbed it into my psyche. That’s one thing I loved about Audrey Niffenegger’s writing. It was always unexpected, with twists and turns, and through the pages you begin to know each character deeper and deeper and love them deeply.

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Book Discussion Summary – The Girl on the Train

Book title: The Girl on the Train
Genre: Fiction, Mystey, Trailer
Author: Paula Hawkins
Date of discussion: 28 June 2015
Average rating: 6.7/10

11542044_10153119552198922_4235805434387765587_nThis book discussion summary was originally written by Vivian Ong for members of The KL Book Appreciation Club, published in the group on June 29, 2015.


Described as a debut psychological thriller that will change the way you look at other people’s lives, The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins begins in a mundane kind of way.

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple having breakfast on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved.

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Book Discussion Summary – Wild by Cheryl Strayed

Book title: Wild
Genre: Memoir
Author: Cheryl Strayed
Date of discussion: 26 April 2015
Average rating: 7/10

I originally wrote this summary of a book discussion on the book ‘Wild’ for members of KL Book Appreciation Club, published in the group on April 28, 2015.

Since the majority of us have finished the book, we all took turns to rate the memoir and everyone talked about what they liked and could / could not relate to in Cheryl Strayed’s writing. We also tackled some discussion questions from Oprah’s Reading Guide.

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