Sunday, September 30, 2012

MID-AUTUMN FESTIVAL

I have to admit that I don't know much about this festival although I live in a town where the population is mostly Chinese. Its historical and cultural significance is lost to me and I am quite sure there are also many other Malaysians who are like that. I will automatically know that the festival is getting close when I start seeing mooncakes and lanterns being sold. That's why this festival is also known as the Mooncake Festival or the Lantern Festival. When I was small, I was always fascinated by the colourful lanterns hanging along the corridors of shops which sold them. I would stop for a while to admire these lanterns on my way back from school and wished I could have one too. In my hometown, there is usually a parade to mark the celebration of this festival. There will be children (accompanied by their guardians of course) carrying beautiful, brightly-lit lanterns, adults carrying banners and a band playing music as soon as the sun sets. I was on my way home yesterday evening and I forgot that the road to my house would be used for the parade. I did not expect that the festival would be celebrated on a grander scale this year and I was quite surprised when I saw the huge crowd getting ready to start the parade. There were people everywhere; taking pictures and causing slower traffic flow. Lucky for me, only one side of the road was closed at that time so I still managed to go back home without getting trapped in the 'semi' traffic jam. Had I been late a few more minutes, I knew I would have to go the other way around to get home. I wish I could have stopped to take a few pictures or at least, watch the parade but I had had a full day and was not ready for any more excitement. I hope I will be able to watch the parade next year. I know it will be a beautiful sight with all those brightly-lit lanterns swaying gently under the full moon. And maybe, I can get a chance to eat a mooncake or two. And preferably with lotus seed paste filling too.

p/s These pictures were taken a week before the festival. The lanterns (which look almost similar to the ones during my childhood) definitely transported me to another time and another place.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

BLOGGER NEW DASHBOARD

Just when I thought I did not have to learn anything new, they changed their look and setting. They call it upgrading but to me, it's just confusing and annoying. Bummer! Bummer! Bummer! Yes, blogger has a new dashboard and I have to say that I am not too fond of it. I am so used to the old dashboard and working with a new one is not making my life any easier. It will take some time before I can familiarise myself with all the new features and I hope I will not get frustrated and lost while doing so (I'm always lost anyway). One of the things that really bug me is the position of images and videos when I upload them to my blog. They never stay in the centre of the blog post although I have set them to be that way. Now I have to edit the html a little bit (and I am not that thrilled when it comes to any form of adjustment) every time I want to upload any new pictures and videos. The same thing goes for the font sizes. I have discovered that the 'new small font' is not of the same size as the 'old small font'. The 'new small font' is much smaller (much too small in my opinion). There are a few other good features as well but as I mentioned earlier, it will take time for me to get acquainted with them. In the mean time, I guess I have to keep on getting confused and annoyed.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A CAT STORY III : CLOUD EIGHT

It was a forbidden place. A cold white box with the faint hum of machinery. But it held a fascination with Victcha. She often sat outside its door, waiting patiently, knowing it housed all sorts of delicacies - chicken, liver, milk, cream, cheese, trifle, butter... Victcha almost drooled in anticipation. Even her favourite Whiskas used to live there if she happened to leave any- which was not often.

Victcha was not sure of the sequence of events that gave her access to this holy of holies, but perhaps someone left the door open or the catch slipped. It was about five feet high, free standing; it was easy to miss a small black and white shape crouched on a back shelf hopefully impersonating a carton of juice. Then someone shut the door without seeing the cat.

It was very dark inside and the hum was louder now. Victcha explored the shelf. It seemed to be almost empty. Only some bottles and boxes. Where had all the lovely food gone? She sniffed expectantly. But everything was covered up.

It was also cold inside, a fact which did not bother Victcha first. Her coat kept her warm. She huddled, flipping her tail over her nose. The tips of her ears were paper thin and beginning to feel cold. It was a sensation she did not like.

She curled herself into a small ball, wishing the cold would go away. It was not such a nice place after all. She grew restless and scratched at the door, miaowing. No one heard.

Sleep was coming over her in waves. Instinctively she fought off the sleepiness, knowing that this was not a normal sleep.

'Victcha...Victcha...'

She heard her name, very faint and far away.

She was trembling now, an ague over which she had no control. It was becoming difficult to breathe as the cold began to paralyse her muscles. She could not fight the overwhelming sleepiness.

She was floating. It was a strange weightlessness, as if she was made of air. She did not question her new state because it was not frightening and she felt very un-curious.

There were dreams in her mind. It was like spinning back to when she was a kitten and the world was very new. Images floated in and out of her consciousness, vague but recognisable, comforting and not in any way a threat.

The cold was something she had never endured before, but it no longer mattered. She had gone beyond the point of feeling the cold; she was frozen; but the pain had gone.

The mist was a strange colour now; lavender, rose and blue, very blue... it was the sky, a vast endless sky, above, below and all around her.

'Her heart has stopped beating,' said the vet, Dennis Archer. 'It's not surprising. How long was she trapped in the fridge?'

'We're not sure. But she was missing for up to twenty-four hours.'

'There's not much hope, then.'

'Can't you try? Please try. There could be a chance,' urged Dorothy Wozniak. Her little black and white cat was the joy of her life. 'Please do something.'

Mr Archer tried to find the heart-beat eight times, but eventually gave up. Victcha remained icy cold. There was an odd gasp from the still form.

'I'm sorry, but she technically dead of hypothermia.'

Dorothy was heart-broken. Her lovely little cat. They left Victcha lying on the vet's table, thinking they would never see her again.

'Look,' said Mr Archer. ' Her temperature is too low to record. But I will give her an anti-shock injection, and put her in a kennel with warm blankets and an infra-red light. If there's no change in the morning, then I'll make all the arrangements to dispose of the body.'

He always hated this part but someone had to be practical. Sometimes a grieving owner preferred to take their pet back to a familiar garden; others did not want a painful reminder.

The young art student went home with her family. They would never know how Victcha had got shut in the fridge. They could not forgive themselves for allowing it to happen. But the refrigerator was the last place they had thought of looking for Victcha when she went missing.

What a pity, thought Mr Archer, preparing the injection. It was a nicely marked cat with a sweet white face and big patches of black above the eyes and under the jaw. The cat would not have known much about it, or suffered. It would have got progressively colder, then simply gone to sleep. But he did as he had promised and left the cat under an infra-red light.

It was another busy day at the surgery; cats and dogs of all shapes and sizes came and went. Mr Archer was called out several times.

It was seven hours after Victcha had been brought into the surwery when the veterinary assistant, working late, hear a funny noise. The black and white cat had thrown off the blanket and was getting unsteadily to her feet, looking around in a dazed manner. Victcha shook her head, wondering where she was. She stretched her stiff limbs and began to stagger to the edge of the kennel.

'Good heavens,' exclaimed the assistant. 'She's alive! It's a miracle.'

Victcha began to miaow feebly. She was feeling hollow and hungry and still cold. The tips of her ears were tingling like ice.

The assistant heated some milk and Victcha lapped the warm milk gratefully. She was emerging from the strangest dreams. She could not make out what was real. They were fading now as the world became a familiar place again. The assistant wrapped her in a blanket and stroked her.

'There, pussy. You have had a strange adventure.'

'I can't believe it,' said Mr Archer, examining the cat thoroughly in the morning. 'That cat was technically dead. No heart-beat. Temperature too low to record. The odd gasp. Nothing. Somehow she's come back to life. As you say, it's a miracle.'

The Wozniak household was wrapped in gloom. They were all upset about the fate of their little cat. Victcha had meant a lot to them.

'I think I'll just ring the vet's, once more,' said Dorothy.

She listened in amazement, hardly able to believe her ears, trying to take in what the receptionist was telling her.

'It's Victcha! She's alive after all. She suddenly came back to life and started staggering around. She's all right now and we can go round and collect her any time.'

Dorothy's eyes filled with tears of joy. Her prayers had been answered.

Vitchcha came home to much rejoicing, though she did not understand what had happened. She had gone to sleep in one place and somehow woken up in another. It was all very peculiar.

She has fully recovered but is a little wary of the refrigerator now. Despite the memories of lovely food inside it, she knows it holds the cold hands of death.
THE END

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

ILLUMINATI AND U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY

So much has been written about the Illuminati and how it is related to various organisations and governments. Nobody really knows the whole truth regarding the whole thing but something posted by a fellow member of a website that I frequent totally caught my interest. If we type 'itanimulli' (which is 'illuminati' spelled backwards) and then add .com after it in the address bar, the browser will automatically take us to the NSA website. I read somewhere on the Internet that the domain name of 'itanimulli.com' is actually owned by an American guy by the name of John Fenley and the whole thing is just a hoax. I am not sure what to make out of the whole 'itanimulli.com' thing but it is still creepy and fishy to me.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

NEPRO : LIQUID NUTRITION FOR RENAL PATIENTS

I am not a doctor and I don't even work in the health care industry but this is something that I think I must share. Please don't take this post as an endorsement or a promotion because that is not what I am trying to do. I simply want to relate my experience and what I went through. After my Mum was discharged from the hospital a few months back, she lost a lot of weight and sometimes was tired and breathless. I was very worried because my Mum had never had such problems before. I did not really know what happened to her body after she received her blood transfusion at the hospital. Explanations from the doctors did not justify the drastic change that had happened to her. She no longer passed urine as much as she did before her hospitalisation. Her sleeping pattern was disrupted and she suddenly had difficulty breathing. She also lost her appetite and no longer could she do any housework that had been her routine. I understand that breathlessness could be due to water retention as renal patients usually do not pass urine as much as a normal person does. There are also patients who cannot pass urine at all and this can usually cause a lot of complications if they do not limit their liquid intake. The water in their bodies is usually extracted during dialysis and the treatment (which usually lasts about four hours each session) will usually drain them of essential nutrients and energy. Consequently, they will feel tired and it will take some time before they fully recover. I was introduced to this product by one of the guys who work at the dialysis centre where my Mum goes for her triweekly dialysis treatment. Initially, I was quite hesitant but I was also desperate. Something needed to be done and fast. My Mum's health, energy level and appetite have drastically improved since she started taking this supplement. This product comes in liquid form and tastes great especially chilled (I know since I've tasted it myself). It will take time for her to gain the weight she has lost but I'm happy with the progress she is making. She is much more energetic than before and her breathlessness is almost gone. Her appetite has come back and she no longer has problems doing light housework. I strongly recommend this product to renal patients who have to control their fluid intake and watch their diet. This product has been formulated to ensure that patients get the required amount of nutrients without having to worry too much about their food intake and restricted diet. The same company also has other products for diabetics, adults and children. Those who are interested can visit their official website to obtain further information or enquire from the nearest pharmacy. I wish I had known about this product much earlier and I can only say Alhamdulillah for everything good that has come my way.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

LET'S KARAOKE 24 : CULTURE CLUB - TIME

It's karaoke time again and this time I'm going to feature a group that was all the rage back in the early 80s. Fronted by the androgynous and adorable Boy George (he was adorable back then), Culture Club managed to score a number of top ten hits all over the world including in the United States during the New Wave movement. This song was their fourth single after the worldwide success of 'Do You Really Want To Hurt Me'. 'Time' finally peaked at number two on the US Billboard Hot 100 on June 18 1983 and was held off from taking the top spot by Irene Cara's Flashdance...What A Feeling. I still remember something that made me really mad when I was on holiday back in 1987. All my Culture Club's singles (most of them were 12 inch singles) were stolen when the house I was renting with my friends was broken into. The thief (it could have been more than one thief but I guess I'll never know the truth) took all the records and singles that I had collected for the past couple of years and until today, I still don't have replacements for most of the missing items. Those records were precious to me since I had bought them with my own hard-earned money washing dishes in a cafe after my classes and during weekends. On Saturday, I would usually head to a local secondhand record shop called 'Papa Jazz Record Shoppe' (oh how I loved that store!) and spend a few hours there browsing through their stuff. The prices of the records sold were quite low but so was my weekly pay. I had to be quite selective since I did not want to spend my money on something that I would not enjoy. As I get older, the only thing I can do is to look back at those good old times with fondness since all the time in the world  I have now can never take me back to my youth and a much simpler time.

The single's cover

video

Don't put your head on my shoulder
Sink me in a river of tears
This could be the best place yet
But you must overcome your fears

Ooh, in time
It could have been so much more
The time is precious I know
In time
It could have been so much more
The time has nothing to show

Because time won't give me time
And time makes lovers feel
Like they've got something real
But you and me
We know we've got nothing but time
And time won't give me time
Won't give me time

Don't make me feel any colder
Time is like a clock in my heart
Touch we touch
Was the heat too much
I felt I lost you from the start

In time we could've been so much more
But time is precious I know
In time we could've been so much more
The time has nothing to show

Because time won't give me time
And time makes lovers feel
Like they've got something real
But you and me
We know we've got nothing but time
And time won't give me time
Won't give me time