Mid-30s

I just hit mid-thirties.

If you are going to enter a marathon race, you will be placed in the Veteran category. No shit. Hahaha.

My relatives say I have this motherly look. What that means is that with just a glance, people will know that I have kid(s). To me, motherly literally means – I have panda eyes, and my face looks puffy and wrinkly, and I pandai bargain in the wet market, I suddenly got very interested in kitchen-ware, and love sharing recipes. Basically, like an Ah Sou.

Nevertheless, there is nothing I love more about myself than achieving mid-30s. I feel mature, I feel empowered at work, I feel I am in control of my household. I am happy with my relationships at home with my hubby, siblings, with in-laws, and my own parents and relatives. I am happy with my job and being a career woman. I have some assets (properties, investments, not body assets). I am not bragging, but I am grateful to be given various opportunities in life to see and experience so many things in this world:

  • 1. I drank good coffee before
  • 2. I drank bad coffee before
  • 3. I got a many degrees – biology, Ph.D. and recently – chemistry.
  • 4. I have obtained a Scholarship before.
  • 5. I have been an exchanged student before overseas.
  • 6. I have completed a triathlon and a duathlon. I swam in the open-ocean before.
  • 7. I have 40 open water dives logged around SEA – Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia
  • 8. I have completed 6 full marathons.
  • 9. I have lived overseas – China, Netherlands, Singapore
  • 10. I have experienced blind dating, meeting a guy online and regretted it because he’s so not like his Friendster profile
  • 11. I have gotten drunk and drove drunk for 10 km (If I remember).
  • 12. I bribed a cop before.
  • 13. Got caught for DUI before.
  • 14. I have sung on the stage in public before
  • 15. I studied a foreign language before – Japanese
  • 16. I have traveled to many countries around the world before
  • 17. I have kissed a complete stranger before. <– drunk
  • 18. I have been embarrassed in public before – usually involving clothing malfunction
  • 19. I raced up KL Tower before. *proud*
  • 20. The highest I’ve been in Twin Towers is 74th floor.
  • 21. I own a luxury bag (relatively expensive)
  • 22. I have helped a stranger before by giving him/her my money, and not asking it back.
  • 23. I almost died due to a medical condition before.
  • 24. ….And came back alive and became a motherfarter…
  • 25. I stayed in a dorm with total strangers before.
  • 26. I acted like a bitch before, throwing tantrums and not giving in.
  • 27. I have experienced both bloody childbirth and c-sect. The pain!
  • 28. I must have had 6-7 dates including boyfriends, before I found my hubby. Wait, maybe 10.
  • 29. I met with 2 major car accidents before.
  • 31. My car got stolen before.
  • 32. I have been baptized a Christian.
  • 33. I am a landlady
  • 34. I am a wife
  • 35. I am a mother

Glad to announce:
I have not smoked before.
I have not taken drugs before.
I have not experienced studying overseas before (I really wish)
I have not done plastic surgery before.
I have not ate weird foods before and will never try – reptiles, fried insects, live octopus, raw herring, blue cheese, etc.
I have not seen the death of a human being before.

 

I know can never (but never say never!) be a stay-at-home-mum as my brains are constantly churning chemistry reactions for the development of new chemicals, thus I kinda think nobody at home would appreciate my brilliant, scientific (ahem!) mind. And tell you, I hate managing my home and my son 24 hours, 365 days a year. He can be so cute that I wanna kiss him all the time, but that’s just it. Otherwise, my son can be quite annoying because consciously I enjoy my freedom as an individual, hence I hope to just see him at night (kidding, but 50% truth) (I am a good mother ok but I need my ME-time back). I love my kid, but I also love the office, the laboratory, my colleagues, the rat race, and I like to get my brains work out hard…and most importantly: I get to bring back a chunk of salary.

 

To say I am an accomplished woman, nope. But to say I have hit some good milestones in life, then yes. I still think I have a long way to go to achieve –
1. financial freedom

2. having successful kids (though you have to define success)

3. leave a good legacy in this world (e.g. breakthrough in scientific discoveries, charity, save tigers,     😛 ).

4. sleep without anyone disturbing <– (never say never)

Ivy-out

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Hobbits in the real world

I think I have been staying in The Netherlands long enough to experience many things, in fact, more than many touristy Malaysians. Having stayed at 5 different hotels and accommodations in The Netherlands throughout my business trip of 1.5 months and this has taught me one thing – I am not made for Europe.

Not surprising but somehow, I suffered ‘discrimination’ in Europe. Not the racism disparity that we hear of every day in the news e.g. foreigners being treated differently from the local/citizens. Nope. None of that. In fact, The Netherlands has been amazing to me in terms of equality and I felt really welcomed in all ways both as a tourist and worker.

The ‘discrimination’ I face daily in The Netherlands – is the prejudice against my height.

If you are great with general knowledge, who wouldn’t know that the Dutch are the tallest people in the world. TALLEST, yes. It’s a cruel fact, and based on my personal experience with my Dutch counterparts that I stand only shoulder level to my Dutch female colleagues. For a Dutch male, 6 feet is slightly below average, while 5 ft 10″ is average for a female. And I am like 5 ft flat.
5.0 – 5.5ft is normal for Asian females. If you jalan-jalan at the city, from afar, you can spot an Asian walking in the streets, and you can tell who are local and who is not – from their height.
I have seen 6 ft 5″  Dutch guy, but so are 3 out of 10 Dutch surrounding him. Mind you,that even if they are tall, many are NOT overweight or obese. Many are tall and still fit (unlike the Americans eh)!!
I did ask why. First I googled, and then I did query my colleagues on their height and fit built.
This was how Dutch Lady milk look like in those 1980s when I was a kid. Mum fed me lots of this, but still…..short.

1. Milk and Cheese

Yes, that’s about it. That’s the ONLY reason why the Dutch are so astronomically tall and are actually taller than the Icelanders: dairy. Over several decades, people in NL has ample supply of local milk and has had the knowledge of processing cheese. Milk and cheese are protein-rich foods and the Dutch are somewhat evolutionary immune to all types of milk products (=lactose tolerant). To date, if I go out for lunch with my Dutch colleagues, cheese, yoghurt, cold meats and wheat are staple. You can’t escape cheeses from your lunches. And the Dutch despises low-fat milk/skimmed milk. No one buys them in supermarket and you may notice that there’s 80% disparity of favouring full-cream milk over low-fat milk on the supermarket shelves.

And so I observed that hobbits like the Asians in a NL supermarket will go for CHEAP and LOW-FAT (hmmph why are Asians sooo scared of fats?). Therefore, you’ll see Asians stocking up on low-fat milk/skim in their carts because it’s cheaper than whole/full-cream milk, and yes, we like everything low-fat. We Asians are blinded to the fact that skim milk contains less nutrients (i.e. proteins, vitamins) and has more sugar content in it to make up for lost taste.

It is also sad that many Asians are lactose intolerant. I was in China for a business trip and my Chinese couterparts had a very ‘difficult time’ after I bought them Starbucks latte. If you notice in Beijing, Starbucks are springing like mushrooms but most Chinese still order flavoured tea or Americano (from my observation), as many can’t enjoy milk in their coffee.

Right…so enough of why we Asians are hobbits while the Dutch are not. Let’s discuss the disparity and indirect ‘discrimination’ we as Asians face in The Netherlands. This is TOTALLY true as it is based on the multitude incidences that I experience in a single country alone.

 
1. I can’t get to the shower head:
Okay, so my mum advised that I am not supposed to lift my arms beyond my head to grab anything above me. It is an old wives’ pantang because doing so may cause the baby in the womb to “drop” down and gets detached from my placenta, or intestines to curl around the baby’s neck. To me, WHATEVER!! The problem is not the baby. The problem is I can’t bring down the shower head to bathe my body. Two of the accommodations gave me a hard time as the room cleaners placed the shower head sooo damn high up, I can’t bring it down for my kinda shower. Nope, tip toe won’t do either. So, let it rain. There goes my wet hair everyday.
This damn Dutch cleaners!!! Why they place the adjustable shower head so high? Never think of hobbits like us meh?
2. I don’t even have to sit on the toilet bowl:
You know, as a hobbit, I have to tip-toe (!) before I can properly position my beautiful buttocks on the the toilet bowl. I was thinking: my as well don’t sit and please go ahead doing your no. 1 and 2 standing. You freaking Dutch built the toilet bowls sooo damn high, never think for hobbits like me! Damn.
1. Can’t see my face:
My father only could shave half of his mustache/stubbles. I can’t pop my pimples, while my mum can’t see herself brushing her teeth. This is the consequence of the Dutch people placing their bathroom mirrors sooo high. Even tip-toeing can’t help(!), and my dad didn’t complete his shaving cause he can’t see himself in the mirror.
WHY you put the mirror so damn high!?
4. Back out from the urinal:
This happened to my dad in a restaurant’s toilet. There’s urinal and there’s a single toilet cubicle. Dad can’t place his d*** to the urinal to pee because urinal was located at his waist-level. Not that my dad’s d**k was not long enough; the urinals were placed sooo freaking high, he can’t stand and pee. And at the same time, the cubicle was occupied at that time. Give up. Terus give up. And my dad is not that short, ok.
Why you Dutch sooo tall and place the male urinal soo high lah!?

5. Trouble signing my credit card for purchases:

Again, the table counters are so high (e.g. in museums, restaurants), I have to tip-toe to sign my credit card upon purchase. In The Hague, the Dutch lady behind the ticketing counter had a hard time hiding her giggles when I she just saw my eyes and nose, but not my mouth. I had to tip toe and sign my purchases when she blurted: “Well, this place was built with ONLY the Dutch in mind”,

Sucks.

Okay, end of my rant. Now I know why Dutch people are so great in many sports and dominates world arena – hockey, squash, soccer, swimming: they are tall. In sports, being tall beats talent/skills in many ways. I see our soccer team like looney tiny cartoon in the field against the Europeans.
Nevertheless, if you do notice, Asians are slowly becoming taller. We have access to meat (protein), our kids are genetically more tolerant to dairy, and eating less rice (carbs) compared to our grandfathers and forefathers. Keep up the proteins, people!

Remembering MH17

I am shocked once again by the tragedy of Flight MH17. The whole Malaysia are. Though it is little over a week after the incident, I still feel the ‘heat’ looking at the endless headlines glued in all front pages all over the world on #MH17. The ‘heat’ meant that on the day the plane was said to be shot down by a missile, all my food and coffee tasted bad, I had stomachache for no reason; maybe I was thinking of how it felt like to die in a plane crash, and felt the urge to write my own obituary just in case I do die in similar incident, or wondering watching on-board flight movie would I be watching, or would the death be quick, and what would be my family, friends and relatives reaction to my death in a plane crash, and at the end of the day I did screw my homecooked meal with too much salt (to the wound, pun unintended). My mental state was badly affected and my motor neurons had temporary paralysis.

What bothers me most is the likelihood of plane crashes, loss and other related incidents such as fire and bad landing of airplanes lately. We were once given the statistics that dying from a lightning strike in a tropican country is more likely than dying in a plane crash anywhere in the world. That is why we, as Malaysians, cannot accept that how could 2 plane tragedies happened in a span of 4 months, with the first plane incident (lost?) had still no closure. Being the scientific person I am, worrying on the statistics, would rather drive interstate within Malaysia than to take a flight.

Then, it is MAS. I am saddened because MAS was my first flight ever when I was 12. I still remember my cousin was an air-hostess for MAS and she booked me a flight from Ipoh to KL (yes, those were the days where Ipoh airport was pretty busy like Subang airport wann ok). I had two relatives as air-hostess that time and was sooo proud of them, but of course my mum wishfully ‘killed’ my dreams because she told me I was born a hobbit and no way I could be like them. MAS, why MAS again? I adore their in-flight services of the crew AND first class lounge at KLIA. I was in an MH370 from KL to Beijing in January 2014 before the incident happened, when I remembered the head crew who served me well – he is gone now, when I saw the papers showing images of those lost in the flight. Surreal.

MAS needs a revamp. I don’t know how, I am not from McKinsey…but a change of name or logo would be great. Please change the colour, as it was thought that the boeing MH17 had same colour stripes of the Russian flag, which cause for mistaken identity and probably lead to the crash of MH17. 

All those who were on board MH17 and lest we forget MH370, may peace be upon all your souls. Too soon to say this, but you have affected us in a good way, bringing us Malaysians together as one voice, one heart, and….allow for some quietness and stillness in our turbulent, but beloved country.  

Rant Of The Day: Improve.

Malaysian politicians, the government including some d**kheads cannot take criticisms from THE rakyat. We are tax payers (all races, yah) and we have to right to criticize any wrong doings and voice opinion to improve the country’s well being. But the response to my criticism/feedback are “Balik China/India if you hate Malaysia” (who said I hate?? I want improvements), “Don’t eat chicken/fish if the prices has gone up (but every other barang also have gone up watt)”, and I have overheard from a ‘friend’: “Pity the kidnappers/militants in Sabah waters as they are still our Muslim brothers (criminal is criminal, don’t care what religion you rot in hell; f**k off my country)”, etc. For me, you don’t deserve to be my friend(!), minister, spokesperson or parliamentarian if you give such stooopid/childish responses. And it’s actually nothing political or racist about trying to voice out our concerns to and about the government. I am talking about government as a whole  = government has non-bumi and bumi working in it (pls remember bumiputra includes bumis in Sabah, Sarawak). Please improve your performance also cannot say out ahhh?? I am borne in Malaysia, I voted and I seek improvements, but lives in a country that screws or arrest people who tells it to improve.

-Rant ends-

But wait. One more: What’s worst I heard in my entire lifetime: “My race/religion is better than your race/religion”. I told her: You are Hitler and btw, your being in your ‘superior’ race still cannot beat those African i.e. Kenyan runners in long distance.

Helloooo….no race/religion is superior. God is that Great. Have Faith.

Milo Breakfast Day Run

I was happy to enter this race because this was my first race of the year since I swore to give my skin a rest from UV radiation.. But it’s not quite possible anyway because even if I didn’t join any races since the full marathon on Oct 2013 (SCKLM), I still do trainings and runs (e.g. LSDs and Double Hills at Bukit Tunku every weekend) as well as 2-3 evenings a week at Bkt Jalil Park. I sometimes hit the gym. I still teach some swimming. So I still get some amount of sunshine. Boo…

I joined Milo Breakfast Day Run last year at UPM and won a couple of extra Milo products because I was top 15. I felt great after that run because there was free flow Milo supplies, and mind you, it’s not your regular Milo drink – It’s the Milo from the Milo conventional green trucks. I wonder what drugs or chemicals they spike in their formulation, but we at home could never beat these Milos that came right from the trucks. It is immensely smooth, cold and the sweetness and milkiness is ever just right! I don’t want to know what Coke’s secret formula is, but my life will be spent on learning the exact ratio of ‘The Milo Formula from Green Trucks’.

This year I once again I thought I would enjoy the free flow again and get my ‘free’ supplies of Milo by getting at least top 30. So, I did!! I was top 13. Even with lack of training compared to last year, I don’t know for what reason, my timing improved by 2 mins and I got into Top 13!! So, here comes my reward of many Milo packs (a year’s worth of supply, maybe?). This year had its participation doubled. Putrajaya was the venue this year. I am familiar with this route as I was to UPM’s (10 years of education spent there). But Putrajaya’s route is wayyyy flatter. I’ve been to Putrajaya’s route from Pacesetter’s 15km in 2011, and Men’s Health, so I was familiar with the entire route.

My hubby himself got into Top 91. His aim was Top 100 🙂

 In this Milo Run, 7km is a short distance but short distances are much harder to race (in my own dictionary): heart-attack-runs, which many long-distant runners are not accustomed to. You need to start fast, run faster, end lagi fast. Like Looney Toons’s  road runner. Short burst of quick paces, I noticed, cause many runners to pant. Many runners that ran along side me pant so hard, I thought they would collapse on the spot. More speed work needed, people! Oh well, you can walk all the way, but not if you want free Milo packs and first in line at the green trucks!

What’s great this year was the amazing, amazing weather and more tables were set for breakfast.  But it wasn’t so great with the double in participation to 20,000 people and less Milo green trucks this year. I lost my hubby in a sea of green, and although he was wearing black, so were 1000 ppl. Next time, we would wear running jerseys in stripes of red and white, like Waldo!

Ooo, of course, the drones. My first in seeing a drone at work. It’s pretty awesome albeit having the thought of something’s always ‘watching’over you. I think the drone was recording videos cause the Milo FB seemed to have uploaded a couple of videos from eagle’s eye view.

Okay, what’s next? Borneo International Run next week! I am only aiming for < 5:30 but I doubt I could even make that time. I lacked LSD trainings plus the thunderstorms that hampers all my evening runs. Yay to end water rationing, but nay for marathon trainings.

Til then, Ivy-out.

March-ing forward

March was crazy.

First was my wedding. Immediately came the anti-climax (read: post-wedding disorder) that hit me like a truck: The wedding we planned for 6 months, was all over in ONE day! I am married but I don’t see anything has changed. Maybe we have been living together before that and wedding was just a formality. But before you lay your judgement, just to let you know now that I am really very happy being married, yo! I feel grown up somehow and to have someone by my side at night and for me to kacau.
Some snap shots of my wedding morning by my aunt recently given to me.

Then it struck me that  I don’t have any honeymoon planned. I have a race in KK in May called the Borneo International Marathon but that trip is booked for the sole purpose of racing and there don’t seem to be any time left for go-sees. Oh well, maybe running is how we both fall-in-love, and maybe running is how we’ll honeymoon. During the full-marathon: we’ve got 6 hours of romantic ‘get-away’, literally. Nope.
We went to MATTA fair and booked a trip to Turkey. It will be in November 2014. So mind you, it may be a bit too late(?? subjective) for a honeymoon. Okay, let’s call it a TRIP instead. Turkey was never in my mind as a trip, but because we both want to avoid beaches (too much beaches, tanning and dive trips in our entire lives, you must agree), and I wanted a BIG CITY trip – with much historical value and *ahem*…shopping element included. Turkey was quite reasonable as it is now in the middle of a internal political mess, and also some brushing with Syria down south, but still, much better than Egypt. And we are going to those places in the far west (countryside?) of Turkey – Pamukalle’s, Troy (did somebody said Brad Pitt?!), Ephesus, Pergamon, bla bla bla bla, dunno where, some cruise, and then finally Istanbul, so you won’t feel the political tension in the city, if applicable.

I thought of visiting cities of Honshu Island for spring but there were runners that returned with radiation exposure due to Sendai/Fukushima run-offs to the underground water (read: contamination) and ocean (read: sushi and sashimi), etc. which actually did scare me a little. I want to have a baby, of course. And some doctors advice that if you kena radiasi, have to wait 6 years before you should conceive so that your baby has lower risk to mutations. That’s probably too long a wait.

Or Australia? But I have been to Australia a couple of times and seems like there’s no ancient history for me look forward to. Scenery are so not my kinda thing. Or Santorini? Too expensive to visit just ONE place, just for its scenery. Or Eastern Europe? Cost too much, with too many cities at one go (think: hectic!) and not many annual leave left for both of us. There’s always a next time 🙂

I am taking up a course sponsored by my company to be a certified chemist. This is darn important to my career, if not, my own perusal. As many of you already know – I still love studying. When you start to work, you kinda miss studying. I know having a doctorate is high enough, but deep down I still want to improve myself with different kinds of knowledge over the years. Furthermore, I might want to earn an MBA somewhere down the road. I am thinking to follow the footsteps of my hubby (professional engineer &amp; MBA) but tough luck as he’s more focused than I. My chemistry course will be in UTAR and this program will definitely affect my weekend-double-hill-run pat-thor and charkuayteow time with hubby for the rest of the year.

This year seems to pass super fast but not without events that shook me and the world real hard – MH370, the prolonged dry season, and now water crisis in Selangor, kidnapping at Sabah, etc. Then before you know it American Idol is already at Season 13. The last I remember was Philip Philips sang “Home” in his finale, I now wonder which season he was in. I was glued to The Voice & eyes on Adam Levene for Season 1 & 2, but *blink*blink*eye* it’s now Season 6. I was called Ivy che-che all these while by everyone at home, but now, now my cousins and nieces & nephew call me Ah Sam or Ah Sou. (Yah…I know….like how my mum called the vegetable aunty at Kg. Simee market).

 

Blardy, I am Ah Sou already! Hell, time flies.

 

 

Pray for MH370

Three recent trips to Beijing within a span of 5 months took me aback when I heard that my frequented flight MH 370 from KUL-PEK has gone missing since 8 March 2014 early morning. As I set there, I thought to myself that I this is all fate and I am indeed blessed. Many friends/relatives […]