last day of 2007…

December 31, 2007

Met with PH again today 🙂 Always a happy occasion… anyway, today we went shopping!!!!! keke… guess what we bought… 1 bottle of hair mask… hahahaha… power right? We went makan lunch at the place I went with YL… nice place… it’s at far east plaza, called “very good 1” I think… level 4. nice stuff… pls go to try

Then… it’s shopping time!!! far east, tangs, paragon, hereen, taka… we are good ok! We talk and we shop… and we talk somemore… it’s very therapetic to talk to PH, I find… sometimes, what is nagging at me resolves itself when talking to her… although we are not talking about it and I’m not consciously thinking about it… kekeke…

Den pepper lunch… for dinner ok… not lunch… hahahah.a…

Anyway, till next time, I’ll be missing her… and her laugh… and her everything 🙂

Oh… and happy new year!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

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national treasures!!!

December 30, 2007

Watched national treasures with S on friday… we wanted to catch the earlier show, but reached 10 min into the show 😦 Anyway, nice, fast-paced show that is quite interesting. My gripe? Why haven’t I seen a pic of statue of liberty with Eiffel tower in the background before?????


Obituary: Benazir Bhutto

December 27, 2007
OMG… I remember doing a case study on her for our Senior Peer Support camp in 1995. And I remember how impressed I was by her determination and her persistence, and her belief that she could someday be the PM of a male dominated state.

A minute of silence for her, pls… in spite of her shortcomings, the world has lost a great leader, and the girls, an excellent role model.
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(Taken from BBC)

Benazir Bhutto followed her father into politics, and both of them died because of it – he was executed in 1979, she fell victim to an apparent suicide bomb attack.

Benazir Bhutto

Ms Bhutto had a volatile political career

Her two brothers also suffered violent deaths.

Like the Nehru-Gandhi family in India, the Bhuttos of Pakistan are one of the world’s most famous political dynasties. Benazir’s father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, was prime minister of Pakistan in the early 1970s.

His government was one of the few in the 30 years following independence that was not run by the army.

Born in 1953 in the province of Sindh and educated at Harvard and Oxford, Ms Bhutto gained credibility from her father’s high profile, even though she was a reluctant convert to politics.

She was twice prime minister of Pakistan, from 1988 to 1990, and from 1993 to 1996.

Stubbornness

On both occasions she was dismissed from office by the president for alleged corruption.

The dismissals typified her volatile political career, which was characterised by numerous peaks and troughs. At the height of her popularity – shortly after her first election – she was one of the most high-profile women leaders in the world.

Young and glamorous, she successfully portrayed herself as a refreshing contrast to the overwhelmingly male-dominated political establishment.

But after her second fall from power, her name came to be seen by some as synonymous with corruption and bad governance.

Asif Zardari going to court

Asif Zardari has faced numerous corruption charges

The determination and stubbornness for which Ms Bhutto was renowned was first seen after her father was imprisoned and charged with murder by Gen Zia ul-Haq in 1977, following a military coup. Two years later he was executed.

Ms Bhutto was imprisoned just before her father’s death and spent most of her five-year jail term in solitary confinement. She described the conditions as extremely hard.

During stints out of prison for medical treatment, Ms Bhutto set up a Pakistan People’s Party office in London, and began a campaign against General Zia.

She returned to Pakistan in 1986, attracting huge crowds to political rallies.

After Gen Zia died in an explosion on board his aircraft in 1988, she became one of the first democratically elected female prime ministers in an Islamic country.

Corruption charges

During both her stints in power, the role of Ms Bhutto’s husband, Asif Zardari, proved highly controversial.

He played a prominent role in both her administrations, and has been accused by various Pakistani governments of stealing millions of dollars from state coffers – charges he denies, as did Ms Bhutto herself.

Many commentators argued that the downfall of Ms Bhutto’s government was accelerated by the alleged greed of her husband.

None of about 18 corruption and criminal cases against Mr Zardari has been proved in court after 10 years. But he served at least eight years in jail.

He was freed on bail in 2004, amid accusations that the charges against him were weak and going nowhere.

Ms Bhutto also steadfastly denied all the corruption charges against her, which she said were politically motivated.

She faced corruption charges in at least five cases, all without a conviction, until amnestied in October 2007.

General Musharraf

President Pervez Musharraf granted Ms Bhutto and others an amnesty

She was convicted in 1999 for failing to appear in court, but the Supreme Court later overturned that judgement.

Soon after the conviction, audiotapes of conversations between the judge and some top aides of then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif were discovered that showed that the judge had been under pressure to convict.

Ms Bhutto left Pakistan in 1999 to live abroad, but questions about her and her husband’s wealth continued to dog her.

She appealed against a conviction in the Swiss courts for money-laundering.

During her years outside Pakistan, Ms Bhutto lived with her three children in Dubai, where she was joined by her husband after he was freed in 2004.

She was a regular visitor to Western capitals, delivering lectures at universities and think-tanks and meeting government officials.

Army mistrust

Ms Bhutto returned to Pakistan on 18 October 2007 after President Musharraf signed into law an ordinance granting her and others an amnesty from corruption charges.

Observers said the military regime saw her as a natural ally in its efforts to isolate religious forces and their surrogate militants.

She declined a government offer to let her party head the national government after the 2002 elections, in which the party received the largest number of votes.

In the months before her death, she had emerged again as a strong contender for power.

Some in Pakistan believe her secret talks with the military regime amounted to betrayal of democratic forces as these talks shored up President Musharraf’s grip on the country.

Others said such talks indicated that the military might at long last be getting over its decades-old mistrust of Ms Bhutto and her party, and interpreted it as a good omen for democracy.

Western powers saw in her a popular leader with liberal leanings who could bring much needed legitimacy to Mr Musharraf’s role in the “war against terror”.

Unhappy family

Benazir Bhutto was the last remaining bearer of her late father’s political legacy.

Her brother, Murtaza – who was once expected to play the role of party leader – fled to the then-communist Afghanistan after his father’s fall.

From there, and various Middle Eastern capitals, he mounted a campaign against Pakistan’s military government with a militant group called al-Zulfikar.

He won elections from exile in 1993 and became a provincial legislator, returning home soon afterwards, only to be shot dead under mysterious circumstances in 1996.

Benazir’s other brother, Shahnawaz – also politically active but in less violent ways than Murtaza – was found dead in his French Riviera apartment in 1985.


countdown to 2008… a time for reflection, a time for hopes, a time for goals

December 27, 2007

It’s 5 days from 2008…

Plan for next 5 days

27th – meeting + library + shopping
28th – meeting + dinner… anyone wanna date me? :Þ if no one wanna date me, I shall date the musuem then… LOL… Pending dinner with S and co?
29th – nothing 😦
30th – nothing 😦 😦
31st – date with PH and SW =) pending too? perhaps have dinner with VV and co… also pending 🙂

Reflection:

  • Learn another language – Malay or German or sign language or Jap or Korean?
    Not really. sporadically studied some german and some malay, but that’s about it.
  • Practice more translation
    None whatsoever
  • Learn a new sport – Yoga? Tennis? Dance? Relearn Table Tennis? Windsurf? Kayak? Rockclimbing?
    Yoga! Belly Dance!
  • Learn more cooking
    BOUGHT more books on cooking. Not too sure if it counts as learning… LOL
  • Get involved in voluntary service again
    Nope
  • Read more
    Okay… pretty decent in this area… classics, non-classics, self improvement, trash
  • Learn to manage time better
    debatable
  • Learn to say no
    debatable too
  • Make more friends, through hobbies, interests or juz somehow
    yupz… events, hobbies, friends of friends etc…

My aspirations for 2008? Tentatively

  • Pick up a language formally. At least to the level which I can read Esperanto, which is to use a dictionary as an aid, not as a crutch
  • Learn more dancing, learn badminton, re-learn table tennis
  • cook once a week
  • Exercise everyday
  • get involved in kid’s welfare or women’s welfare groups
  • Meet more people

Hmm… also don’t know where to slot this last point that slipped into my mind just before I clicked the “Publish” button… many friends getting married… KZ, MC&HC (they have their first born son!!!), WM, J&I, C&R, YK&SL, GL, Z (I heard he now has 3 kids… perhaps more), SL, WG&LL, J etc… makes me wonder… am I now LOTS? Hmm……….. perhaps one of my goals for 2008 should be to get myself a boyfriend! LOL…


Please visit and help me grow my city!!!

December 26, 2007

http://ngc2880.myminicity.com/


Welcome to the ‘Don’t Divorce Me Club’

December 26, 2007
TOKYO, Japan — In the corner of a small Japanese restaurant, a dozen dark suited businessmen gathered at a large table.

A Japanese couple walk through a park filled with cherry blossoms in Tokyo.

Smoke hovered over the dinner and beer disappeared as quickly as it was poured.

At first glance, it looked like a typical Friday night post-work scene played out all over Tokyo’s taverns.

But then your eyes stop on a poster-sized sign propped up next to one of the middle-aged men. It reads:

Three Golden Rules of Love:

• Thank you (say it without hesitation)

• I am sorry (say it without fear)

• I love you (say it without embarrassment)

All the men at the table stood up. Equally spaced out and still wearing their stiff black suits, they chanted in unison, “I can’t win! I won’t win! I don’t want to win!”

The chant was followed by a deep bow, a straightening of the backs, big smiles and a burst of applause. The meeting of the “National Chauvinistic Husbands Association” was underway.

If you’re confused at this point, don’t fret. The group is called the National Chauvinistic Husbands Association because it’s a club for bossy husbands who need help (a little lost in translation effect here).

So the title is appropriate for this group of men. In an abrupt about face from traditional Japanese relationships, the men are learning how to give their wives more respect.

More poster signs surrounded the men at the meeting:

Three Golden Rules of Renewing Family:

• Let’s Listen

• Let’s Write

• Let’s Talk

Three Golden Rules for Extramarital Affairs:

• I don’t do it

• I am not doing it

• I am not even thinking about it

And there’s even a system of ranking your husbandry in the club:

Rank 1: Love your wife after three years of marriage

Rank 2: Help with the household work

Rank 3: No extramarital affairs, or at least keep it a secret from her

Rank 4: Ladies first

Rank 5: Hold hands with your wife in public

Rank 6: Listen to what your wife has to say carefully and seriously

Rank 7: Solve issues between your wife and your mother

Rank 8: Say thank you without hesitation

Rank 9: Say I’m sorry without fear

Rank 10: Say I love you without embarrassment

The meeting was jovial and there was laughter at times. But the undercurrent was serious and taken to heart by the 4,700 members of this Japanese club.

They’re all acutely aware of a new law in Japan this year that entitles a wife filing for divorce to claim half her husband’s company pension.

That change led to a spike in divorces in the country, as some Japanese women, tired of their long-absent salarymen, decided they’re better off on their own.

But these men say they don’t want to be alone so they’ll change for their wives.

As the men talked in their support-group setting, you quickly became aware of how rare it is to see men, especially businessmen, so emotionally intimate.

One man confessed his typical Japanese workday (spanning 16 hours at times) was making his wife angry. The group leader warned he’s on the highway to divorce and he needs to put his wife before work.

Another man said he’s too Japanese and can’t seem to put his wife first. The group leader warned he’s too old-fashioned.

Another man, married 22 years, shared the fear that he’ll be alone in old age because his wife complains about his snoring. Heads around the table nodded up and down in sympathy.

I couldn’t help but ask, “As an American, it seems so easy to hold hands or say ‘I love you.’ What’s so hard about your rules or rankings?”

The group leader looked at me and said what’s hard about the seemingly simple rules is following them fully and changing your behavior. He said it’s easy saying it or doing it, but changing who you are and really believing it is quite another.

He also pointed out to me that the divorce rate in America is over 50 percent. In Japan, the rate is still below 10 percent. Maybe, he suggested, some of the ways the Japanese approach love and marriage isn’t so strange after all.

After the meeting, we followed a young man named Yohei Takayama home. He’d just been promoted to “Rank 4.”

He admitted that “Rank 5,” holding hands with his wife in public, was not going to be natural or easy. He and his wife have been married for two years. His wife said he’s been a member of the club for a year and a half and it’s changed their relationship dramatically.

Namely, she said, he helps more around the house, listens to her more, and understands she also has a career that exhausts her. What they’re growing into, she said, is a partnership. They went grocery shopping, and I noticed he carried the bags and helped her decide what to buy.

As they left the store to go home, he took her hand in his. It didn’t look like the most natural thing in the world for him, but he was trying. His wife smiled as they walked home.


season reason?

December 26, 2007

People always come into your life for a reason, a season and a lifetime. When you figure out which it is, you know exactly what to do.

When someone is in your life for a REASON, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed outwardly or inwardly. They have come to assist you through a difficulty, or to provide you with guidance and support, to aid you physically, emotionally, or even spiritually. They may seem like a godsend to you, and they are. They are there for a reason,you need them to be. Then, without any wrong doing on your part or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end. Sometimes they die, Sometimes they just walk away. Sometimes they act up or out and force you to take a stand. What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled; their work is done. The prayer you sent up has been answered and it is now time to move on.

When people come into your life for a SEASON, it is because your turn has come to share, grow, or learn. They may bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh. They may teach you something you have never done. They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy. Believe it! It is real! But, only for a season. And like Spring turns to Summer and Summer to Fall, the season eventually ends.

LIFETIME, relationships teach you a lifetime of lessons; those things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation. Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person/people (anyway);, and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas in your life. It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.