Tuesday, February 28, 2006
posted by Amie Lee at 10:17 am

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Last weekend, my best friend and her fiancée registered their marriage at Thean Hou temple, located on top of Robson Hill off Jalan Syed Putra. I will not relate the events to conserve the couple’s privacy.

However, I would like to extend my best wishes to the lovely couple.


Nal and Kent,

My greatest wish for the two of you is that through the years your love for each other will so deepen and grow, that years from now you will look back on this day, your wedding day, as the day you loved each other the least. Congratulations on your marriage and may the force always be with the both of you!
 
Monday, February 27, 2006
posted by Amie Lee at 1:39 pm

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I have recently discovered a new and very exhilarating interest. Never before in my life would I have anticipated the arrival of this new awareness: Travelling. I have only been exposed (or rather, addicted) to it ever since I have returned from Hong Kong. It is pretty sad that I did not discover this interest before or I could have done a lot more to accomplish this dream before I turned 24 (I know I am old) – like travelling as far as my finances could take me and saving up more to take me further in the future.

Anyhow, I believe it still isn’t too late! For the past couple of days, I have been reading up and talking to people about my future destinations. I have many interesting and remarkable findings (those who do not appreciate travelling should press alt+f4 now before you sue me for boring you) in respect to various countries all over the world. Now I feel even more motivated and eager to explore the WHOLE WORLD! Hence I have been very dreamy and unfocused ever since – not a good thing for my full time paying job, which also happens to be the major funding source in order for me to print my footstep at every corner of the world.

I would save all the money that I possibly could and someday, I would explore the whole world with my significant other (a.k.a. devoted travel partner). This is so travelling would be more memorable as a whole and every experience would mean much more than they normally do – to me and hopefully, my devoted travel partner. Not forgetting that with my devoted travel partner around, chances are I will not have to fork out a single cent (note the word devoted) from the moment we take off until the moment we land!!! Now how good can that be? All I need to do is smile, look sweet and I can get anything and everything I want. If I still do not get what I want, I will smile more, look sweeter...

Let me share some of my discoveries on the places I have always wanted to visit, even before I developed an interest for travelling.


Switzerland

Honestly, I never knew exactly where this country was located until today. It actually borders Germany in the north, Austria in the east, Italy in the south and France in the west. This means that three important European cultures meet in Switzerland – that of the German-speaking region, the French and the Italian (three cultures just like Malaysia, Malaysia Boleh!). Also, there isn't anything in Switzerland that you can't find somewhere else in the world (quoted from the official visit Switzerland website – imagine saying a thing like that about your own country at a tourists site). Finland has more lakes, the glaciers in Iceland are bigger, the mountains in Nepal are higher and in Italy there are more apricot orchards. The upside is that in Switzerland, all of these are so close together hence in a two to three hour train trip, completely different landscapes may be sighted – now that is much better promotional wise. Temperatures are typically 20 to 25 degrees during the summer and between 2 and 6 degrees in the winter.


Iceland

Much of the country's popularity is due to its natural features which include glaciers, hot springs, geysers, active volcanoes, portentous peaks and vast lava deserts – something very different from everything around here that I would definitely love to experience. The downside is that Iceland's appeal is tempered by the most expensive prices in Europe (sadly, but doable with the devoted travel partner around). Summers are pleasant but do not make particularly enviable postcards, with average temperatures around 12 degrees. Winters, however, are significantly blunted and fresh enough to put some rose in the cheeks but will not freeze them solid. Snow turns to rain around spring but is never too heavy. Reykjavik’s (Iceland’s capital) closeness to nature makes the city unique in the range of activities such as midnight golf, salmon fishing, sailing, climbing, glacier trekking, dog sledging, horse riding and whale watching.


Greenland

Also known as the Arctic, it has icebergs in all shapes and sizes, dramatic glaciers and endless ice caps (up to three kilometers thick, covers an area fourteen times the size of England – imagine that!). Among the animal life there are large whales, seals, walruses, musk oxen, reindeers and polar bears. During the summer (over 20 degrees), the sun never sets while in the autumn, winter (minus 30 degrees) and spring, northern lights sweep across the dark sky above snow-covered mountains. The climate is very dry hence temperatures feel quite different from most other places in the world. 10 to 15 degrees feels very warm, while minus 10 degrees is equivalent to a comfortable temperature. A hotel in Kangerlussuaq known as Hotel Igloo Village consists of igloos (as most hotels there) with sleeping bags, instead of beds. In the central igloo bar – somewhat like a hotel lobby, tables and glasses are all carved from solid ice. Travelling by boat is a good option because cars and motorcycles are not practical. Glaciers and ravines tend to make road making a thankless task in Greenland and there are only two settlements connected by tarmac.


Actually I also have the aspiration to visit Japan, France, Korea, UAE, Egypt and Antartica but I did not manage to dig up any interesting facts on those places (maybe because they are fairly common destinations). I would love to visit Japan mainly because of Disneyland and also to experience the interesting Japanese culture. As for France and Korea, it would be solely because these countries offer a journey filled with romance and beautiful breathtaking sceneries. Anyone would have guessed that the only reason I am interested in UAE (namely Dubai) is because of the duty free shopping available. As for Egypt, I am aware that it is an over-rated place but I would like to see for myself the wonders that the country boasts for centuries now. Antarctica, however, would be because it is the last vast wilderness on Earth and also the closest I can get to visiting another planet – or so it is said.
 
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
posted by Amie Lee at 11:07 am

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The very much highly recommended Kluang Station in One Utama has got to be one of the worst (if not already the worst) restaurant in the world. Very frankly, I hesitated to name the restaurant but thought I had better – to save people from the agony they will have to go through should they decide to dine there.

Last weekend, dad wanted to try the food there as there was a write up in The Star (one of Malaysia’s leading local newspaper) about the restaurant. I did not read the article personally but according to dad, the newspaper highly recommended the food there.

There was about five items for main course and three items for drinks on the menu hence we did not take long to decide.

Dad and sister ordered “nasi lemak”, mum ordered “nasi ayam merah” while I ordered Hainanese chicken chop (sounds good huh?). This was what dad said about his order “They can’t even make edible belacan”, while mum said this about her order “The chicken is so very dry”. Want to hear what I have to say about mine?

My deep fried chicken chop has lost ALL of its crisp hence it felt like I was biting into a piece of flour. The best part of all is that only a quarter of the chicken is edible (consists of solid meat) as the rest are all fats. This miserable piece of chicken was soaked in diluted tomato paste – think pasta or spaghetti paste but extremely diluted. Then there was about ten pieces of French fries soaking (like dirty laundry in a tub of water) in that awful tomato paste.

As for my drink, I took something called Pineapple water – which turned out to be exactly how it was named. It was pineapple chunks soaked in plain water. Don’t ask me how it was because I do not know how to even begin describing it. If you are curious enough, drop by at the restaurant. Oh, good luck.
 
Monday, February 20, 2006
posted by Amie Lee at 12:36 pm

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So came the day that it was time for me to leave HK. Ivan and I received various morning calls via the hotel telephone at approximately 5am (although I was already wide awake before the first one came). Hence we got out of bed close to 6am, did all the necessary and proceeded to the lobby a little past 6am as the bus was picking us at around that time. After the travel agency had gone through all the necessary procedures, we got onto the bus and arrived at the airport at around 7am. The travel agency did a group check in for us and although I personally requested for a window seat at the counter, I was refused. Not only that, I did not even get to sit together with Ivan. I was way beyond pissed but Ivan was in high spirits as he spotted a Watsons outlet just opposite the check in counter. After checking in, I was dragged to Watsons and Ivan looked like he won a lottery jackpot upon exiting the outlet. I cheered up a little too, seeing him so happy and having obtained the sweet looking Mickey and Minnie.

We then had Burger King for breakfast before browsing through the duty free area. Ivan had wanted to finish the last of his HKDs hence Renee took us to a shop where they sold miniature liquors. After Ivan had grabbed a few, I asked him what he was going to do with them and he said to decorate his room. Good thing I had managed to knock some sense into him that he did not know how to appreciate things like these as he was not any fonder than me of liquor. Hence he dropped the bottles and I pointed to him the Disneyland shop (now that was more like it) and said that it was better to spend money there than to buy some mini alcoholic figurines. Hence we went in there and grabbed everything we possibly could, very hurriedly – as we were already running late, while doing some mental arithmetic on how much more HKD we had left to spare. If I had more time to choose, I would have gotten much nicer things.

After paying for the items, we rushed into the plane. Good thing it had not taken off without us. Ivan somehow managed to arrange the seats so we could be seated together. With that, the plane took us home and we slept all the way until we landed in KL. I slept really well because it was comfortable as I leaned my head on Ivan’s shoulder (I could not sleep well when I was flying to HK because my head kept swaying from left to right and vice versa). Landing in KL gave me one of the most horrible feelings I have ever experienced in a long time. I really missed HK and I wished so badly that I can go back there again someday. The time I spent with Ivan there was truly unforgettable and I had enjoyed every moment of it (even when I was most annoyed at him). I will always remember every second that we were together in HK. Thank you Ivan sweetheart for bringing me to HK! It is the most beautiful place I have ever been to and it is there that boasts the most memorable experience I have ever had in my entire life.
 
posted by Amie Lee at 12:32 pm

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Once again, the six of us (Stephen, Carreen, Jaffri, Jasmine, Ivan and I) met in the lobby at approximately 9am. We headed to a nearby coffee shop for breakfast, opposite the one we went to the previous day. Ivan and I wanted to eat in the same place again but figured that the rest did not so we kept silent. The lady who took our orders was as a blur as a sotong, as confused as a hungry baby in a topless bar and as forgetful as a forgetful thing that forgot how to remember. I should have suspected so at the rate she was struggling to take our orders. Even after she finally managed to put everything down on paper, she kept returning to question us on our orders. We repeated it to her so many times that we could memorise each other’s orders by the time we left the shop. I had some mini chicken chop (all the other things on the menu were either pork or beef) together with Ovaltine.

After breakfast, we headed towards Harbour City, where we had briefly visited during our second day in HK. It was actually located adjacent to the Star Ferry Pier, where we were supposed to take the ferry to Macau. All of us got a shock when the lady behind the ticket counter quoted us the one way price to Macau – a whooping HKD150! That would add up to HKD300 per person so unless we did not plan to return to HK, then we could settle by paying only HKD150. Ivan and I agreed that that was the worst form of extortion ever. Jaffri and Jasmine had instantaneously decided to forego the trip when they found out the price while Stephen and Carreen were still contemplating on whether or not they should go. In the end, all of us decided to stay in HK to do some shopping instead. I told Ivan I rather spend the money in G2000 (since I have not yet!) than to the ferry company. Well, I suppose that to gamblers, HKD300 is only a small price to pay. Happy gambling folks, I am going shopping!

We made a few stops in Harbour City in shops such as G2000, Giordano and Bossini before heading to Times Square shopping mall [Times Square] – one of the largest shopping malls located in Causeway Bay on Russell Street. I did not want to buy anything there as I wanted to wait until we got to Times Square because I was pretty sure variety would be plentiful there. Ivan assured me that if it was cheaper or nicer in Harbour City, we would take the MTR back later in the day. Just before leaving, we passed by Watsons and saw the sixteen inch Christmas Mickey and Minnie. This time I was not the one who looked like I was in wonderland when I saw it, it was Ivan. Believe it or not, he had developed a strangely fond interest in Mickey and Minnie ever since he stepped out of Disneyland. That brought a flashback to me of my first day in HK when we were in Watsons, when I showed the very same Mickey and Minnie to Ivan. He took the shortest glance at them, then smiled at me (as if he never saw anything) and touched my face. In Harbour City, he held them both up and stroked them, smiling and admiring them. How times have changed.

On the way to Times Square, we stopped by a shop to have dessert. The shop was pretty nicely decorated and modern, unlike all the other shops that we previously visited. I suppose that this was one of the higher end types of shop while the rest we visited were ordinary coffee shops. The menu (which for the first time, had English wordings!) looked overly fascinating hence I became really fickle minded and could not decide which to order. I finally settled with one called sago mango with extra mango – I suspect it must be a superbly “mangolicious” one. Ivan (after being persuaded and sweet talked by me) ordered a sago watermelon that was unfortunately, offered without extra watermelon, unlike my mango dessert. I convinced him to order that one as mango and watermelon were both my favourite but I could not decide on which one to order. Hence we shared our desserts and they cost about HKD20 each – pretty expensive for some shaved ice with a few pieces of fruits.

Then my worst fear from wolfing down the desserts came true. I was shivering as soon as I had finished my last mouthful. Too late to regret but life goes on anyhow. We then headed towards Times Square. It was situated right above the Causeway Bay MTR station (which is on HK Island) hence we did not have to do any extensive walking to get there. Each couple went separate ways to do their own shopping, agreeing to meet at the main entrance at 2pm. Ivan was being dragged by (the ever faithful) me into G2000 where I spent some quality time picking and trying on their latest collection. He too, was engrossed in the male section where he found himself a pair of pants – all the better. Jaffri and Jasmine appeared in the outlet shortly after us and spent as much time there as we did. Jasmine was in the changing room more than half the time while the patient Jaffri was standing right outside, offering his opinion and holding onto every piece of clothing that she tried on.

After spending what seemed like all of Ivan’s current, present and future savings in G2000, we went down to the main entrance of Times Square to wait for the rest. It was there I sighted the loveliest Christmas decorations in the whole of HK, sprawled over the entire stretch of the shopping centre. The whole concourse was filled with Christmas embellishments and just looking at it made me feel like I was in the North Pole. Right in the middle was a moving snowman, which Ivan and I took a picture with, and I had one with it alone too. As we were waiting there for Stephen and Carreen to show up, I decided to video record the snowman as it was pretty cute. When I aimed the camera at him, he thought I was shooting a still hence he held his hands up for a couple of seconds. Then I made some gestures asking him to move around and he did just that. That was pretty good for a laugh – it sent Ivan and I to crackpot land.

Next up was the wet market. It did not smell anything like Malaysian wet markets though (no strong fishy stenches or anything of that sort) and I wonder why that was the case. Anyhow, we bought lots and lots and lots of char siew and Peking duck for lunch. When I say “we”, I should have said excluding me because I do not consume either of the above. On the way back to Royal Plaza, Ivan bought me tau fu fa and egg tarts to munch. However, I did not feast on them yet as I thought that it would be a rather messy affair. Back in Royal Plaza, the char siew and Peking duck were divided between the five of them and we all returned to our own rooms. Ivan did not finish his little feast – although he took the smallest portion of all, because he said it looked really disgusting and he could not digest that much meat on one occasion. I enjoyed the tau fu fa, which was so very smooth (though I did not like the fact that there was no pre-added sugar and instead, loose packets of brown sugar were provided) and the egg tarts (simply lovely – soft and crumbly, could not get any better).

Ivan and I took a short afternoon nap, and I suppose that the rest did the same. It was relieving to sleep for a while because we really have not had enough sleep for the past few nights and my face was more than just plain swollen. I suspect that I looked like I have been involved in a severe physical wrestle since the second day I was in HK (which got worse day after day) due to the lack of sleep. Hence everyone was quiet up until around 6pm when Jaffri called to inform us that he was going out with Jasmine first. I was already up by then hence Ivan got up as well and after getting dressed, we walked out to Century shopping mall [Century] – located just beside Royal Plaza. We never got a chance to walk around in there although our hotel was just right beside as we were too busy wandering to further off places. Ivan wanted to go there with the primary reason to purchase Kee Wah “lou poh peng” for our families and friends, as well as some for our own consumption.

While searching high and low for the shop, we dropped in at Watsons and Ivan once again spent some precious moments with the Christmas Mickey and Minnie plushies. He said that he would buy it for me (that was just an excuse) later on tonight so we do not have to carry it around. When we finally found the “lou poh peng”, we bought a few packets and then went to have dinner in McDonalds – finally, we got to eat there. However, it was so crowded that we decided to take away and have a quiet meal back in our hotel room (for the second time in the same day). We forgot to purchase our little souvenir from Watsons although we were going back to the hotel. Ivan then said we would later on when we went out again. With that, we chomped on our dinner and met up with Stephen and Carreen in the lobby not long after.

We then headed towards Fa Yuen Kai and Lui Yan Kai, which we have visited in the past couple of days, to do some last minute shopping. Coincidentally, we found Jaffri and Jasmine at Fa Yuen Kai. Ivan and I bought an identical Hong Kong tee-shirt, he got an L while I got an S. It was black in colour, with some well-known Hong Kong skyscrapers that we sighted at the Avenue of Stars. The stall keeper was way too persistent for us to refuse although we thought her price was a little on the high side. Following that, we were persuaded to buy some fridge magnets (which Ivan said we could decorate our future home with) by another stall keeper, just beside the stall where we purchased the tee-shirts. Initially she quoted us HKD18 per magnet and just as we were about to leave the stall, she called us back and told us that we could have it for HKD10 per magnet. Looks like their profit margins are more than abundant.

Ivan was so desperately trying to locate a Watsons outlet that we even went off the main streets of Fa Yuen Kai and Lui Yan Kai to look for one but failed to locate any. I almost passed out when we passed the shop that sold “chau tau fu”, along with other tit bits. The smell was indescribable, Ivan claimed it smelt like drain but I would say it smells like drain and shit. Whatever the description of the aroma may be, trust me when I say that it stank real badly. The worst part of all is that we had to wait there for the others as it was the end of Lui Yan Kai, i.e. our meeting point. It was then we found a shoe shop by accident (because I tried to wait as far away from the reeking shop as possible). What a delightful accident – thanks to the smelliest shop in the world. Anyway, it was a shop that sold sports shoes but without proper license as they did not even have a signboard. Ivan bought me a pair of Nike there – it was baby blue with a few streaks of silver and white, very nice.

When the others finally turned up, they purchased some “chau tau fu” (much to my horror) to eat. They were all laughing at how disgusted I was with the smell and continued munching on that square looking brown smelly thing. Ivan braved himself up to take a small bite of Jaffri’s delight and told me it really only tasted extremely salty, and did not have that awful stench. Following that, Ivan wanted to get a drink to wash down the salt hence we went to buy a cup of lychee flavoured shaved ice – which made me really cold although it was only moderately windy that day. Then we walked around Mong Kok and stumbled upon at a street that comprised of shops which only sold shoes. This part of HK does not seem to be closing (or even show signs of closing) although it was way past 10pm.

One thing about HK, people will walk on the roads without a care in the world as certain streets are off bound to cars – permanently, I think. This may be observed more predominantly in areas surrounding Miu Kai, Fa Yuen Kai and Lui Yan Kai. A scenario as such may only be observed in Malaysia during the festive seasons, i.e. Christmas, where people walk freely on parts of streets that are closed to vehicles. Next, we went into the nearest MTR station to return our Octopus cards to redeem the remaining balance (I was impressed that they do not penalise card holders and force them to forego remaining balances like the system in Malaysia – Malaysia boleh). However, there is a HKD7 charge if the card is returned after three months – which I think is a small price to pay.

Next was back to Royal Plaza as we were all really slow and tired by then. Failing to locate Watsons, however, Ivan was pretty upset and desperate by then so we quickly dashed into Century to check out if Watsons was still opened. Sadly it was not. Hence I had to bear with his “Meeekeeey” wailing all night long as I was packing up everything into our suitcases. I kept assuring him that we would find a Watsons in the airport but he still went on and on wailing (while pushing aside the possibility that there would a Watsons at the airport). Look who turned into a diehard Mickey fan. I swear to you that he had no idea what colour Mickey was or even the slightest clue what Mickey’s last name was before visiting Disneyland. Time change, people change. Good thing I was way too tired hence that very night, I was not as light a sleeper as I was on every other night – hence I did not have to hear no wailing from the wailing machine beside me in respect to a certain mouse.
 
posted by Amie Lee at 12:30 pm

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Give me a D! Give me an I! Give me an S! Give me an N! Give me an E! Give me a Y! Give me an L! Give me an A! Give me an N! Give me a D! What does that spell? DISNEYLAND!!! Who is going to Disneyland? Only one guess for that one.

Ivan and I got up in the morning and I was all excited to see Mickey Mouse [Mickey] and the beautiful world of Disneyland. However, to the cynical Ivan, Mickey is nothing more than a well dressed up talking mouse and Disneyland is nothing more than a gimmick to confidently trick you into spending unnecessary money (it was obvious that he does not share my enthusiasm). I simply could not wait to get there as I was already bursting out of my skin, sprinting on a one way street to Disneyland without stopping for anything. However, we had to have breakfast first – although I was so excited I did not even feel the least bit hungry.

So Stephen, Carreen, Jaffri, Jasmine, Ivan and I gathered in the lobby at approximately 9am. We then walked down the street from Royal Plaza, looking for a place to have breakfast. There were only a few shops opened at that time of the day and we settled with a corner shop just beside the Prince Edward MTR station. Each couple ordered two breakfast sets, one that was really heavy and the other moderately heavy. As the lady was taking our orders, Ivan asked me what I wanted to drink. I told him that I wanted Milo and when he repeated it to the lady, she gave him a blank look and we were all stunned for a moment (thinking of how to explain Milo to her). “Chocolate,” Ivan finally said. Brilliant. She nodded her head and said, “Ovarteen.” They do not take Milo in HK, they take Ovaltine.

Mine and Ivan’s first breakfast set was noodles, toasts, eggs and ham while the other one was a bun with luncheon meat and sausages. Ivan told me to try the bun (known as Po Lor Pau), as he said I would like it. It was magnificent, deliciously sweet – I had it with luncheon meat and egg. I then gobbled down the toasts with ham and egg but still felt a little empty. Maybe I needed more of those superb buns. Also, in HK, they never add any form of sweetener to your drinks hence you got to put them in yourself or drink something totally tasteless.

After what seemed like one of the best breakfasts that I have ever had in ages, we took the MTR to the Sunny Bay MTR station (an interchange station to the Disneyland Resort Line, also known as Mickey Rail). The moment we got out of the MTR, the Disneyland Resort Line had already arrived and I could not help but scream with happiness. It was a white train with windows shaped like Mickey’s head that were outlined by thick red draw rounds. I was even more delighted by the interior of the train. The handrails were shaped like Mickey’s head, and there were ten inch bronze sculptures of various Disney characters in glass containers along the seats.

The whole journey on the Mickey Rail lasted approximately 5 minutes (maybe it was longer because in the midst of happiness, time seem to pass faster). After we exited the train, we had to scan our Octopus Cards to pay for the journey before walking into the huge path that leads to Disneyland. At the entrance to the path was an arch with a lighted board that Mickey stood on and wordings that read “Welcome to Disneyland”. I was already hyperventilating by then, smiling from ear to ear and clicking away with my camera (I multitask really well).

At the end of the path was a round-a-bout like concept, with the north, south, east and west exits. We came from the south while the north headed towards Disneyland. To the west was restrooms with some benches and ticket counters were located at the east. In the middle of the round-a-bout was a beautiful brass fountain. There was a sculpture of an enormous adorable whale in the middle spouting water and right on top of the water gush was Mickey was on a surfboard. I am not sure of the significance of the whale to Disney or Mickey but it sure seemed like a rather popular mascot. Ivan then told me the whale was from Pinocchio (and something about it swallowing Pinocchio and then spitting him back out). Surrounding the whale were the other Disney characters such as Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy, Pluto and a few others – all brass.

After fussing over the fountain, we headed towards the east to get our tickets. Ivan took one with Mickey on it and I took one with (take a wild guess) Minnie on it. Then we all emptied our bladders in the restrooms at the west and finally headed towards the long awaited north: DISNEYLAND! Our bags were inspected upon entering while our Disneyland passes were inserted into a machine to be scanned. Once we were inside, I saw a colourful assembly of bushes that made out Mickey’s face. It was huge and stretches out as far as our eyes could see, with a little entrance into Main Street USA on the left. Above that little entrance was a sign that read “Here you leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow and fantasy”.

The world of yesterday typically meant Main Street USA as the theme in the land was based on how USA looked like back in the 19th century. The whole land looked like it came out from some detective movie set in Texas, where all the shops were brown (seemingly made out of wood) and signboards with fonts alike those in the cowboy movies. There was a gigantic Christmas tree – bigger than any I have ever seen in my life, right in the middle of Main Street USA. Beneath the tree was heaps of presents all wrapped up and they were huge (I bet they are all empty boxes). Just behind the tree was a little hut, and there stood the Christmas Mickey and Minnie. My eyes lighted up as soon as I set eye on the two mice and ran towards the queue to have my picture taken with them – only to find that the queue was longer than the Nile River. I then walked back towards Ivan with the most disappointed look ever.

The other two couples were already queuing up to have a picture with Donald (it was nowhere near the length of the queue for the Christmas mice) hence we joined them. The characters took a break every half an hour or so, hence while we were queuing for Donald, the Christmas mice walked out from their hut towards a huge gate that functioned more like a door (which is where I suspect the characters change and rotate). I chased them with every pound of energy in my body just to photograph them. It took me more than a few tries before getting a really good shot as they were really speedy – no kidding, plus it was a tricky task running and aiming the camera simultaneously. I did the same for Donald too, when he walked towards the huge gate while we were in the queue. Taking up that challenge twice in the same day is more than enough exercise for me for the whole year.

Donald was the cheekiest and naughtiest character I have ever seen. He played with everyone that took a picture with him, punching them, covering their faces, refusing to hug them and all sorts. When it came to my turn, he put his arm around me really hard to push me down. Hence my legs were bent as the picture was taken. As for Ivan, Donald refused to have a picture taken with him hence he put both his hands on the waist and bent towards his left when Ivan was on his right. That was a really good one. I asked Ivan since when was he a fan of Disney characters and wanted to have pictures taken with them. His reply (a world class respond, so read carefully), “I paid have paid so much and so I must make my money worth it.” There were more than a thousand question marks above my head.

Next we headed towards Fantasyland, going right through Sleeping Beauty’s castle – Disney’s trademark. It was beautiful in there, with themes, rides and characters from various fairytales and legends. Among the themes was Winnie the Pooh, Alice in Wonderland and The Little Mermaid along with various rides such as the Mad Hatter Tea Cups, Cinderella Carousel and Dumbo the Flying Elephant. Just beside Sleeping Beauty’s castle were three characters and all of us were trying to guess who they were (Carreen then suggested that we walked up to them and pose our question directly). One of them looked human and the other two looked like mice so I suggested Cinderella. The line to have a picture taken with them consisted of ten odd people.

Our first stop was an interactive 3D spectacular called Mickey’s Philhar Magic, which featured Donald who was trying to capture Mickey’s sorcerer hat (that could somehow move on its own and was always trying to get away from Donald). It was actually a musical show that featured theme songs from some of the bigger Disney blockbusters such as The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, The Little Mermaid and Aladdin. Hence Donald was in each these productions in each feature whereby the theme songs were performed. He finally got the hat back during Aladdin when Jasmine, who was on the magic carpet doing the “A Whole New World” duet with Aladdin, got hold of the hat and handed it back to him.

I personally thought that this 3D spectacular was really one to shout about as there were even physical effects, aside from the excellent graphics. In The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, there was a scene when the buckets (which were alive and moving) filled with water fell on the floorboards. We consequently felt the splashes a couple of times – I immediately stopped snapping and quickly stuffed my camera under the jacket. In a Beauty in the Beast scene when Lumiere (the candle that could talk, dance and sing) was dancing along with some beautifully decorated cakes, a strong sweet edible scent was brought out. Somehow that made me really hungry. In Aladdin, we could feel the breeze as Donald plunging downwards on the flying carpet – allowing the audience to experience a feeling of falling through midair. With that, the show then came to a finale when Donald finally returned the sorcerer hat to Mickey.

After the wonderful experience was photography time in Fantasy Gardens. We wanted to have a picture with a few of the Disney characters hence we spent about an hour accumulatively, just queuing up and waiting in line. The characters that we got to meet were Mickey (I would never miss him out), Minnie (she’s so sweet), and Tigger and Pooh (Tigger was rather lively but Pooh was really quiet). They were all in their respective huts and there were railings leading to it, which was where everyone queued. I was really fascinated by the characters as they really behaved and portrayed the original characters that we knew of. For instance, Mickey was really warm and friendly, Minnie was always clasping her hands together and curtseying and Donald was mischievous and bad tempered.

Following all the socialising, we then queued up to get a ride for The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. While waiting in the line, Ivan and Jaffri got something for us to bite. They came back with a sausage for each one of us, which was hard like rock and was probably the most expensive I have ever taken in my life. Half an hour passed by, followed by another half an hour. Before we knew it, two hours had passed and we were still waiting in the line. I was so bored that I took countless pictures of the various posters of Pooh and his friends all along the queue. Somewhere in between, we allowed Ronny and Jack (who were also there on that day) to join us in the queue. When it was almost our turn to ride in the hunny pot, we checked with an attendant the duration of the ride. She told us it was three and a half minutes. So we were queuing up more than two hours for a three and a half minute ride?

Ronny, Jack, Ivan and I sat in one hunny pot while Stephen, Carreen, Jaffri and Jasmine sat in another. It was basically a whimsical storybook journey that brought us through a dark places with pictures, structures, music and narration while unfolding Pooh’s adventures with his friends in Hundred Acre Wood. It was pretty alright but definitely not worth the two hour queue. It ended before I could even say Winnie the Pooh – alright I’m exaggerating. Our picture from the ride was then displayed on a little digital screen right at the exit, which we could opt to purchase. Ivan quickly took my camera and snapped our picture (as I was too short to reach the screen) before it changed to the next hunny pot’s picture. We got a free picture!

There wasn’t a specific occasion next hence we headed towards where some loud music was originating. Apparently it was a parade (known as Disney on Parade) with very colourful and animated floats that featured Disney productions such as Alice in Wonderland, The Little Mermaid and Toy Story. The final float was one of Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy and Pluto performing the Mickey Mouse song – which was lovely. We did not get to see the others before that as the parade was already ending when we arrived. I tried to photograph the parade but too many people were blocking my view (I guess I was too short) although the floats were pretty high. Hence Ivan did the photographing instead while I just stood watching the parade – for once I was watching and not concentrating on my camera.

Jaffri then came to us looking for Jasmine, as he claimed she went missing and he could not locate her. I then told him to go and look for her while we stood where we were, as she was with me just before he came looking for her – hence she might return. Ivan and I continued to wait although the parade has ended until he received a phone call from Jaffri. Apparently, all of them were already in the queue for The Golden Mickeys.

I then did something I had never done in my life, which was going through a queue (in other words, cutting queue). It was not for a short distance either; it was at least two hundred metres. I walked ahead of Ivan, saying, “Excuse me,” to squeeze into the queue (I got the more innocent face between the both of us). People were glaring at us but there was nothing we could do about it except be thick skinned. I halted and almost gave up at one point but Ivan said we should go on since we have gone so far. Hence I agreed and went on. He then chipped in “Sorry, looking for someone,” after all my “Excuse me,” lines. When we finally got to them, Ivan expressed his dissatisfaction for not informing us of their intention, especially to Jaffri (as we stood still even after the parade to wait for Jasmine and himself).

When we got into the theatre, I chose a seat right at the middle corner so I could photograph the show nicely without any bobbing heads. It was a lovely musical that featured Mickey, Minnie, Toy Story, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Mulan, Lilo and Stitch, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and Tarzan. Each of these Disney productions presented their respective theme songs along with some impressive dance moves. The finale involved characters featured from the above said productions performing simultaneously onstage. Just when the last note of the musical sounded, confetti was released from the top of the theatre onto the audience. It was magnificent.

We then proceeded to Adventureland, where we hung around for a brief while, snapping photographs before heading towards Tarzan’s Treehouse. It was located on a small island hence it is only accessible via a motor powered wooden raft. The queue was rather long so good thing the raft could accommodate many, unlike the hunny pot (which could only accommodate four). At the treehouse were sculptures of Tarzan as a baby and an adult, his girlfriend – Jane or whatever her name is, the ape that took care of him – I believe her name is Kala, and various other characters. I did not get to see much as it was really crowded (imagine that small island accommodating so many people) and I never managed to catch the cartoon hence I did not recognise many of the significant matter associated to Tarzan.

By the time we got back to the mainland via the wooden raft, it was already fairly dark although it was only half past 5pm. We headed towards an auditorium that staged Festival of the Lion King, and once again waited in another overpowering queue. I did not catch this cartoon as well hence my narration may not be as good as those who have. This Broadway style musical performance basically summarised the whole cartoon (according to Ivan, who has seen the movie) in about 25 minutes. There were four huge floats, one for Simba, one for a giraffe, one for an elephant and one for something that looks like an ox and pig but is neither one, together with a meerkat. Those who have seen the cartoon would be able to relate to these characters.

The four floats were most colourful and animated, and were parked at each of the four exits of the auditorium within the audience’s viewing range. In the middle of the stage was where the performers played the roles of Simba, Nala, Scar and a few other names that I could not recall (if I can remember this much without catching the cartoon, I am already pretty advanced). They various performers even sang and danced in accordance with the ever famous Hakuna Matata song. Narration of The Lion King story was provided, both in English and Cantonese (in HK Disneyland performances, conversations and speeches would normally be in Canotnese but musicals would remain in English – as per the original). The fire effects were pretty impressive – I think it was real fire as I could feel the heat. Anyhow, I enjoyed the performance although I didn’t know much of what was going on.

We then headed to Tomorrowland (which we never got to explore due to time constraint) to snap a few pictures while waiting for Disney in the Stars – a fireworks show, to begin. It was already pitch dark hence photographing was a problem without a tripod. When it was almost time to begin, we went to wait with the crowd in front of Sleeping Beauty’s castle (where the fireworks were sprouting). The crowd was asking people to sit so everyone could then see clearly, but there were two ladies in the middle of the crowd that refused to do so. Despite almost everyone chanting, “Chor tai!” (which means sit down), they still stood exactly where they were right until the end of the fireworks. Talk about being stubborn.

I took stills as well as movies of the fireworks, displayed against the legendary Sleeping Beauty castle. The stills were really challenging to take as the automatic shutter speed was set at a little past two seconds and it was way too cold for my hands to stop shivering. Also, I had to aim the camera to avoid some stubborn people on my right that asked the two ladies to sit but they themselves did not. Hence all of the pictures turned out shaky but surprisingly, the effect of that looked really good (no, it is not a self praise). Nevertheless, I still prefer recording in movies as shakes and shutter speeds were not an issue. Frankly speaking, the fireworks were nothing to shout about but I enjoyed it anyway – simply because it was Disneyland fireworks. I have to admit though, that the fireworks were very much carefully synchronised with the accompanying music.

Following that, we only had one hour to do some shopping at the souvenir shops before Disneyland closes for the day. Very much to my surprise, the souvenir shops were so packed that we could hardly move in there. People were grabbing items from the shelves like they were free of charge. There was limited time and space to look at anything hence we just grabbed anything we thought was suitable. Ivan bought me a nine inch standard Mickey and Minnie, and we got my sister a nine inch HK Disneyland Grand Opening Mickey from the first row of shops that we went to. In another row of shops, we purchased some key chains, magnets and chocolates as souvenirs for some of our friends.

Ivan was really engrossed in looking for a Mickey scarf for me. We saw a lady in the MTR wearing it earlier in the day. Hers was black with Mickey’s hands (which were white, as he always had gloves on) at each end and I thought that was really cute hence I showed it to Ivan and he said he would get me one. I thought I was the fanatic one but then it seemed like he was more determined than me to locate the scarf. We eventually found one, which was Christmas themed. It was red in colour, with white lining (very much similar to Santa Clause’s outfit) and a little three inch Mickey plushie at the end – very cute. The material was lovely, so soft and smooth, and felt just like woolen silk. When I saw that it was HKD100, I told Ivan that I did not want it but he said it is alright and insisted on buying it for me. Thank you Ivan sweetheart!

After all the shopping, I left Disneyland with a heavy heart. The lighting of the fountain with Mickey and the Pinocchio whale was beautiful at night hence Ivan and I fussed around it for a while. We then walked onto the path that led us out of Disneyland, bidding goodbye to the beautiful place along the way. Then, we were on the other side of the arch with a lighted board which Mickey stood on (which we saw upon arriving earlier in the day) and this time, with wordings that read “Thank you for visiting”, instead of “Welcome to Disneyland”. With that, we got on the Mickey Rail once again to head back to the modern city of HK. That was in fact exactly what the pre-programmed computerised voice announced the moment we got onto the train. It was rather sad to hear that and I was pretty sure everyone felt the same as we had so much fun in Disneyland.

Back in Prince Edward, we (Stephen, Carreen, Jaffri, Jasmine, Ivan and I) tried to look for something to eat as we only had one miserable sausage the entire day. Surprisingly, I did not feel hungry at all. Maybe happiness could actually overcome hunger. Ivan insisted on McDonalds because it was the most economical and he did not get to have his way the previous day. We then passed this Thai restaurant called Golden Elephant and Jasmine saw a promotion (buy one free one) that was offered. We went to double confirm and found out from the restaurant manager that it was actually a buffet for HKD100 per person but is only really HKD50 per person as you get one free for buying one – if you cannot get this right you should go back to primary school. We then decided to have a look at the buffet and since it looked oriental enough, we decided to eat there.

Everything there tasted so good. Actually it was not only good, it was magnificent. The quality controllers in that place must be really highly paid (as opposed to the ones in KFC). I tasted almost everything at the buffet table – that contained scores of varieties. There was chicken, fish, beef, cauliflower, brinjal, broccoli and such as side dishes with rice. Curry mee, asam laksa and lemak laksa were among the main dishes available. There were desserts like jelly, banana pancake, kuih, assorted cakes and a vast variety of ingredients to go with ice kacang. Aside from those that I have mentioned, there were still many other things such as satay and otak otak available at the buffet table. One of the best things about the buffet is that refills and replacements are efficient hence there is always warm food and new variety.

Malaysians being Malaysians, we had plate after plate after plate. We never did stop eating, not even to have a short conversation. The only thing we said to each other was to recommend food we tasted from the buffet table. When we have finally stopped eating, we started to fear the bill as we were pretty sure a buffet that good would not only cost HKD50 per person (it should cost at least six times the price). We suspected that the restaurant manager conned us and already had ten bouncers waiting outside the restaurant should we fail to settle the bill. Hence we were really relieved when the bill came and it was only HKD314 for all six of us –equivalent to HKD50 per person, as we were informed earlier. That means we only paid RM25 per person for that royal feast (we would never get deals or food this good back in Malaysia).

Satisfied and filled to the brim, we left the restaurant swearing that this was the best meal we have ever had in HK and nothing else comes close. We even thought of going back there the following day but immediately dismissed that though as our faces would have already been black listed (for eating way too much) – they would have hung our pictures on the wall beside the main entrance with huge crosses on it. Our consumption on that one night itself has probably contributed significantly to a decline in the restaurant’s profit margin or a tremendous loss if the restaurant was already making a loss. With that, we dismissed the idea of ever returning to the restaurant in the near future but kept in mind to have at least one meal there if we ever visit HK again someday. That is, if the restaurant had taken our pictures down from the wall and had not decided to impose a ban on all Malaysians.

None of us were up to walking anymore after the food we have consumed and the extensive walking we have endured for the past few days. Hence he headed back to Royal Plaza to give our feet, body and mind some rest before another long day filled with activities. Our initial plan was to visit Shenzhen the following day but upon receiving news that another group of friends (who was there while we were in Disneyland) were robbed there, we did not want to risk anything. It is said that people from the poorer areas of China would go to Shenzhen upon the arrival on Chinese New Year to rob tourists. Hence after some discussion, we had decided to take a ferry to Macau instead – not to gamble but to experience some scenic views.

I did some packing for Ivan and myself as I did not want to do any form of extensive last minute packing on the last night – that would cause me the biggest headache ever. I prefer to complete it step by step or as they come to me, rather than let it accumulate and complete it as a whole (which is when there will be more to do and confusion will arise). Hence I have been gradually packing upon reaching the hotel every night, no matter how tired I felt. Ivan had wanted to do his last minute and being experienced enough, I knew that would take him ages, on top of all the tiredness and fatigue he would be experiencing. Hence I packed all his things along with my own before going to bed every night – I did not have the heart to see him suffer, as much as I would like to get my point across and make him learn a painful lesson.
 
posted by Amie Lee at 12:29 pm

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All nine of us from the day before were to meet in the lobby at 9am. I was the first to get up at around 7am, keeping in mind that we had to take turns to use the bathroom. We got ready just on time and all four of us (Jaffri, Jasmine, Ivan and I) were the first to arrive at the lobby. After waiting for quite a while, the rest still have not turned up hence we popped in at 7-11 (just opposite Kimberly) to stock up on some drinking water and snacks to keep us occupied for the day. I surveyed the prices of certain products and compared it to Malaysia’s prices, which gave me a shock. An ordinary bar of Mentos would cost HKD6 while a small bottle of mineral water would cost HKD4. The conclusion that I have made is that eateries in HK are to be savoured until the very last crumb or drop because they do not come easy.

After stocking up on our supplies, we headed back to Kimberly once again and took some pictures of the lovely Christmas embellishments in the lobby while waiting for the others to turn up. When all of them had finally arrived in the lobby, we contemplated on a few places to have breakfast. Some of them wanted to have “wan tan mee” but Ivan and I did not because we were told by a friend who just came back from HK that the “wan tan mee” over there is not very good – they only have it with soup and the dry type is not available. Ivan then suggested that both of us should just go on our own and have “tim sum” at a restaurant called Tou Heong (which was just one road away from Kimberly), if the rest did not want to join us. That was because our friend recommended the shop to us hence we did not want to miss tasting good “tim sum” in HK. However, after some lengthy discussion, the rest came to an agreement to have breakfast in Tou Heong.

The “tim sum” in Tou Heong was in fact pretty good. We ordered a variety of choices and it was so good that I feasted on each variety – including those with high pork content. I took some “sui kau”, “siu mai” and many others that I did not manage to recall the names (I am a banana – not the fruit, but a Chinese who cannot speak or read Chinese). Also, I thought the “char siew pau” tasted simply magnificent. I could have done with a few more of those – I have then officially turned non-halal. However, we did not dare to order too much as we were afraid that the bill would be equivalent to an addition of all our future meals in HK and hence would be our last meal in HK as we could not afford anymore. Luckily, it turned out that the “tim sum” was not quite as expensive as we thought after all. We settled the bill and left the restaurant happily.

After breakfast, we visited Harbour City shopping mall [Harbour City] just to have a brief look before heading back to Kimberly to pack up. The shopping mall was located at Canton Street and just opposite the Hard Rock we went to the previous night. Harbour City is the largest shopping mall in HK with two million square foot, which provides 700 shops and boutiques, 50 restaurants, two cinemas and three hotels. We were to check out from Kimberly by 12pm and a bus would pick us all up to Royal Plaza Hotel [Royal Plaza] thereafter, which was located at Prince Edward. The problem arisen when we waited until almost 2pm and the (fucking) bus still has not turned up. It appeared that the bus was stuck in traffic and would be late – some silly excuse they cooked up. We paid good money for the transport as carrying our luggage from one hotel to the other was an almost impossible task. BUT… Impossible tasks are sometimes meant to be possible.

So that was exactly what all of us did – around twenty of us. We all carried our HUGE suitcases, lugged it in the MTR (my very first time in the ever efficient HK rail system) from station to station and street to street until we arrived at Royal Plaza. The starting point was Kimberly, from where we walked to the Tsim Sha Tsui MTR station and that took us approximately fifteen minutes. We then took the MTR all the way to the Prince Edward MTR station, from where we walked another solid fifteen minutes to Royal Plaza. On the way there, we passed the starting point of Fa Yuen Kai and people were staring at us – we were all beyond pissed off and so very exhausted by then. Anyhow we checked into the hotel and went to our respective rooms (which were a million times bigger and better than the rooms in Kimberly) to leave our luggage before setting off again to discover HK. It was only Stephen, Carreen, Jaffri, Jasmine, Ivan and I who met in the lobby as the others had plans of their own.

With that, we walked to Fa Yuen Kai in Mong Kok (which we passed earlier in the day lugging our suitcases), looking for a place to have lunch. We ended up eating “cher chai min” – another famous delicacy in HK, a concept very much alike to “yong tau fu” whereby you can pick your own combination of meat and vegetable to be added into any noodle of your choice. Ivan, being very pro beef, added a variety of beef assortment into his noodles making the soup brown, with small and big brown pieces everywhere. It looked simply delicious (your choice whether or not to take my word for this one but bear in mind, I am anti beef)! I, on the other hand, had fishballs and brinjals with my noodles in beautifully clear soup. What a masterpiece! Together with that, each couple shared a huge bowl of “woon chai chi” – which was actually shark’s fin soup. I doubt that it was a hundred percent pure but it was pretty good. However, Ivan and I were too stuffed by the “cher chai min” to finish our delicacy.

We digested our lunch along Fa Yuen Kai, where things were the cheapest in comparison to all the other streets. Ivan bought me the sweetest looking pair of scarf ever (that looked like a kueh because of its pastel pink, yellow and white colours) and for himself two pairs of socks. At one of the many Bonjour outlets, I found a Biotherm Aquasource that was really cheap hence I grabbed it without thinking twice – with the most delighted look on my face. Thank you Ivan sweetheart (we only say sweet things like these when we get presents don’t we?)! After that, we headed towards Lui Yan Kai, also in Mong Kok. We did not purchase anything there but we managed to get two boxes of delicious “lou poh peng” from a shop near Lui Yan Kai – one for my family and another for Ivan’s. We bought an individual one to munch along the way too.

Before long, it started to get dark – it starts to get dark from 5pm onwards. We then headed towards Central district which was on HK Island. It is the seat of the government and the financial and banking hub, with a shimmering cityscape of skyscrapers and marble shopping malls. It is the heart of all commercial activities in HK and most banks and multi-nationals have their offices situated there. These offices were not the average twenty or thirty storey high buildings but in fact, they were standing at a minimum of fourty storeys up till a hundred storeys high with the most charming architecture designs. As it was already pretty dark, the buildings were already lighted up and the array of lights sighted was most lovely.

We then took a short stroll along the streets of these miraculous buildings before taking the Peak Tram up to Victoria Peak [The Peak]. The wind was stronger than ever and we were freezing cold as we admired the structures around us. When we passed Citigroup’s edifice, the Citibankers (Ivan, Carreen and Jaffri) each took a photograph against the Citigroup emblem. “Let’s go up to 24th floor to shed from the wind,” Ivan suggested jokingly. Everyone laughed as that is the Citibankers’ department floor in Menara Citibank along Jalan Ampang – not the Citibank Plaza along Garden Road though. The street where all the banks (examples are Bank of China, HSBC and Standard Chartered) were located is known as Bank Street.

The tram ride to The Peak was pretty heart tormenting as it was slanted at about 45 degrees all the way uphill – definitely not a ride for the weak or faint hearted. The wind was stronger than ever up at The Peak. It was so bad that we had to hide behind walls or any form of concrete (big enough to cover our whole body) to prevent ourselves from freezing. To make things worse, I could not put on my gloves as there were too many beautiful photographs that I could not miss taking. This time, we were right on top of HK Island hence overlooking the structures on HK Island, and the shoreline and structures on the mainland. The view was simply magnificent as we could see the beautifully lighted up HK and Kowloon skylines, including Victoria Harbour.

After a while, my fingers were so numb that I had to put on my gloves. I continued to take photographs anyway although they may appear shaky. As much as we liked to stay a little longer to admire the magnificent view, we had to leave or else there would be a collection of Frosty(ies) at The Peak. Trust me when I say that it will not be a pretty sight. Anyway, so away we went from the magical hill that has the ability to transform humans into snowmen. The well known HK wax museum, Madame Tussauds, was closed for renovation until early 2006 hence we did not have a chance to pay homage to some of the Asia's leading public figures, celebrities, great statesmen and sports stars.

Following that, we headed towards SoHo (South of Hollywood Road) to scout for a place to have dinner. We took the Mid-Levels Escalator upwards, known to be the world’s longest covered escalator. The escalator is a convenient way to see the bustling city hillside which contains various restaurants and shops – very much similar to Bangsar back in Malaysia. Travelling the entire length took quite a fair bit of time and that was when I saw more than five westerners within a minute ever since the moment I arrived in HK. SoHo offers a wide range of upmarket eateries which we thought was a little too steep for our budget – that probably explains the number of westerners around. Hence we walked downwards (as the escalator only goes upwards during that hour), away from SoHo to look for somewhere else to eat.

Ivan and I wanted to have McDonalds but Jasmine quite persistently insisted on KFC so we gave in. Eateries in HK are really expensive, if compared to those in Malaysia. In an ordinary coffee shop, one simple bowl of noodles or rice (similar to those that we had previously) would cost from HKD18 to HKD36. Fast food – McDonalds, KFC or Burger King, would cost an average of HKD22 to HKD40 per set. Eateries in HK are generally double or slightly less than double the prices back in Malaysia. Good thing we never had to order drinks whenever we ate because (as I have mentioned earlier) most coffee shops would provide a cup of warm Chinese tea free of charge.

Our meal at KFC tasted like that from the outlet in Iraq. Though I have not personally tasted it (if there is one), I suspect it would not be good because there wasn’t even enough chicken to feed a family for one day. The other factors are irrelevant as KFC’s driving factor itself (the lovely chickens) is scarce. Anyway, I cannot begin to describe why we all felt that way but just take my word for it. Imagine a dry, tasteless chicken and mash potato that tastes more like plain grounded pepper than anything else. Ivan even complained that his coffee was horrible (he said that it was too bland and that it tasted just like plain water). Seems like the KFC in HK has no quality control or Malaysians are just plain good at making chickens taste good – imagine what chickens taste like in Iraq.

I ordered a chicken burger (I think it is what Malaysians know as Zinger burger) and other than being a little dry and tasteless, it was still edible – unlike Ivan’s. Everyone complained about their food and it was really so bad that even Ivan the miser did not finish his food. One special thing that the KFC outlets in HK have is what is known as the Maple Syrup Egg Tart. Ivan bought two of those after his dissatisfying meal, one for himself and one for me. It actually turned out to be what we Malaysians recognise as the Portuguese Egg Tart. Tasted exactly like one too, just that the crust was softer and more crumbly. This is the only thing in KFC that I can give some credit to, aside from the Coke that came with my meal.

After our delicious and scrumptious meal at KFC, we set on our very tired feet once again and headed towards Lan Kwai Fong. That was where more upmarket eateries and delicatessens can be found, along with pubs and nightclubs. We entered one of the nightclubs (I really forgot the name) and into its ice room. Jasmine and I did not want to enter the room hence we waited outside for the rest to come out. However, Jaffri (being much attached to his girlfriend) kept persuading Jasmine to join him inside so she gave in and pulled me along. It was so cold in there that smoke was coming out of everyone’s mouths as they spoke. After I got out, I felt like a block of ice. Ice room it seems. As if the temperature outside was not bad enough.

We were way beyond tired by then hence we decided to head back to Royal Plaza. Not only did my feet hurt like it has never been hurt before, it was awfully cold and windy that day. So much so, the hurt went away because the cold had numbed my feet. The day before was a much longer one in comparison but we were not as tired. It was probably because of the switching hotels incident earlier in the day that maxed all of us out. Ivan and I could hardly move by the time we got back to Royal Plaza (my legs depreciated real badly) so we took our baths, packed our stuff and went to bed right after.
 
posted by Amie Lee at 12:22 pm

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Finally, the day had arrived. I was going to discover Hong Kong [HK] for five whole days (actually just four as I was leaving on the fifth day in the morning) and do one of the things I love doing best – taking photographs! I could not sleep the night before as I was way too excited for my own good. When the clock showed 5.30am, I instantly got up to take a shower and change. I then had my breakfast (one miserable Portuguese egg tart) as dad insisted on it before we left the house. Mum and dad then sent me to the airport and there, I met Jasmine and Stephen, as we were flying off together.

It was a horrible three and a half hour flight as I felt terribly air sick. I was normally alright on planes (not ships or ferries or cruises though) but I had no idea why I felt like throwing up more than three quarter the time. Maybe I was over excited or I did not have enough sleep the night before. Either that or the pilot was just plain terribly inexperienced – slim chance though. Jasmine and I were sitting side by side, and coincidentally, she was feeling air sick too. Everytime there were turbulences, we would look at each other with the most upsetting expression ever. I managed to choke down my lunch successfully but ended up feeling even worse after my tummy was filled.

After what seemed like more than a century, we finally landed at Hong Kong International Airport [HKIA]. We then passed the customs and proceeded to collect our luggage. It was not long before we claimed our respective belongings. We then walked all around the airport (thanks to Stephen who claimed he knew the way as he has been to HK numerous times before) looking for a taxi stand. We finally got into one and he quoted us HKD250 for a ride to Kimberly Hotel [Kimberly] in Tsim Sha Tsui. It was only later that I found out the price he quoted was exclusive of taxes hence it amounted to a whooping HKD289.

Upon arriving at Kimberly, the hotel staff helped us with our luggage and the three of us walked into the lobby. I stood still for a moment, looking around to admire the smallest hotel lobby I have ever seen in my life. It was lighted with warm lights, had a medium sized Christmas tree right in the middle and Christmas decorations everywhere – pretty nice. A couple of minutes later, I saw a sweet looking smiling Ivan sprinting towards me with his arms stretched out. He hugged me for a while and planted a kiss on my forehead. Together with his other colleagues, they arrived a day earlier than the three of us. Hence Jaffri met Jasmine and Carreen met Stephen (I suppose I do not have to mention that they are couplings).

Ivan and I had to share a room with Jaffri and Jasmine for the first night, just as Ivan and Jaffri had shared the room the previous night. We were to move into another hotel further away the following day, where we would have our own rooms. Hence all four of us went up to our room to drop the luggage that we girls have brought over. The room was so small and cramped up that it could hardly house us all (good thing we were spending most of the time away from the hotel). To top it off, the entire room only had one plug point – fantastic! After spending a few minutes unpacking and freshening up, we went down to meet Stephen, Carreen, Ronny, Renee and Jack to discover HK (and of course, take photographs – you cannot believe how excited I was!). So off we went!

Ivan carried a waist pouch that he borrowed from his father while I had brought my small Guess backpack that I had purchased a few years ago – which he ended up carrying as well. We put all the valuables (passports, wallets, phones, camera batteries, memory cards, coins) into the waist pouch and the bulkier and less valuable things (water, snacks, gloves, little items we purchased) into the backpack, for safety reasons. I held my precious camera in my hands at all times and when I did something that required the use of my hands, i.e. eating, I would put my camera into the pocket of my jacket.

I was already busy clicking away with my camera as we walked around looking for a place to have lunch. We passed this shop which smelt so PORKISH that I put my camera down to scan for the source of the aroma. For those of you who do not know, I am a non-Muslim that does not fancy pork in any way whatsoever. Or even beef for that matter. Anyhow, I managed to locate the source and took a peek into the shop’s glass window. To my utmost horror, I saw various parts of the pig soaking in a huge pot of boiling water (which looked like pork juice or pork gravy or pork soup to me). Suddenly I felt like fainting and much to my delight, we walked past the shop. However, after walking a few shops down the road, someone had decided (with unanimous votes) to make a detour and have lunch at the pig parts shop. Oh well.

Jaffri, Jasmine, Ivan and I sat on one table while the rest shared another one as there were limited spaces. People in HK would share tables with strangers as long as there are empty seats available as land there is scarce. Even the spaces were rather cramped up hence I could not stretch my elbows too extensively or I would hit the people around me. As we sat down, we were given a cup of warm Chinese tea each (as with every other coffee shop, free of charge) to warm our hands – and drink, I suppose. Good thing Jasmine could read Mandarin so she read us the menu and looked for something non pork / beef for me to order. I ended up with some seafood wanton noodle thing while Ivan ordered some beef noodle thing (which looked like some fat, disgusting, horrible part of the pig that I would never try even if I were to be rewarded one million dollars for doing so). Now don’t tell him I said that.

Seems that somehow mine and Jasmine’s orders looked very much alike hence we mistakenly took each other’s. She ended up with my seafood wanton noodles while I had her “sui kow” noodles. Although it was not my choice and it contained pork, the “sui kow” noodles tasted fine so no complaints there. As Ivan was still in the shop settling the bill, I stood outside looking carefully through the shop’s glass window at the pig parts. I cannot believe that people even eat things like these because it looked simply too disgusting for words. There was this one particular part that was in abundance and I was really curious to know which part of the poor pig it originated. It came in rather big pieces, with big holes (almost like a combination of a waffle and a beehive) and it looked rather soft. I soon found out that it was pig skin. Looking at it was enough to make me fast for ten days – imagine how long I would fast if I tasted it.

After surviving the lunch, we were off to do yet another one of the things I love doing best – shopping, shopping and shopping. We arrived at Park Lane Shopper’s Boulevard, a place that housed a whole row of designer boutiques along Nathan Road in Tsim Sha Tsui. It was there that I found and stepped into the very first G2000 outlet in HK (for the clueless, I am a diehard supporter of Generation 2000). The stuff there was cheaper compared to those in Malaysia but the difference was not significant hence I did not get anything. We then proceeded to the Esprit Outlet Store, also along Nathan Road – it is a pretty long road. If you want to know the meaning of cheap, that is the place you should visit. It was where I spent a significant portion of (poor and pitiful but willing) Ivan’s (hard earned) money. I shall spare you the details on how I did that.

Ivan did make me a little upset, though, by leaving his pouch into changing room after trying on a pair of jeans. He never noticed it until we were leaving and I asked for my phone. When he realised that he left it in the changing room, he dashed toward it. I was beyond worried that someone had already taken it but luckily he remembered to say his prayers the night before. Otherwise I would have his head on the ground (our passports along with all our valuable possessions were in there!). He was quick to comfort me hence I did not sound him or scream my head off – I only frowned very disapprovingly and muttered a few words of dissatisfaction, as I was pretty sure he had learnt his lesson well enough.

We then proceeded to Avenue of Stars, which was located on the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade. As Avenue of Stars is located on the mainland, we could observe the glorious skyline on HK Island. The view was simply magnificent and lightings on the buildings (or rather, skyscrapers) were stunning – which were already visible although it was only slightly past 6pm as the skies get dark earlier during the winter. We waited for the Symphony of Lights that comes on at 8pm daily for approximately fifteen minutes. This spectacular multimedia show combines lights and narration, featuring the key buildings on HK Island. The facades of buildings are decked out in lights that glow in a myriad of colours depicting HK’s colourful and bustling atmosphere.

While waiting, we walked around taking some photographs. The Avenue of Stars was lit up and its special lighting effect turns the whole place into a glittering galaxy, with bright warm lights along the way and starry paths. However, the wind (from mainland China) was blowing strongly that we felt extremely cold. After a while, we could no longer tolerate it hence we went into New World Centre – a shopping mall along Avenue of Stars, for shelter and to have some hot chocolate / tea / coffee. As we stepped out from the shopping mall, the Symphony of Lights was just about to begin. I then found a nice spot to photograph the show. However, my hands were shaking really badly due to the cold wind hence the photographs appeared rather shaky. I did manage to get a couple of good shots along with some videos though.

Feeling rather satisfied, we left the Avenue of Stars and headed towards the Hard Rock Café [Hard Rock] located on Canton Street. Some of them purchased merchandise from Hard Rock but Ivan and I are not great fans of Hard Rock hence we did not. They cost way too much anyway – might as well save up for a grand shopping spree in G2000. I am so proud of myself because I have such wonderful organisational skills. Hence Ivan and I just stood around taking photographs, both inside and outside of Hard Rock. We were rather impressed by the moving Hard Rock emblem that was projected by neon lights onto the ground, hence I took a picture of that (try not to blame us, we originated from Kampung Ulu). When the rest were finally done in Hard Rock, we were on our way once again.

Since we passed the Tsim Sha Tsui MTR station, we made our way down as Stephen, Jasmine and I wanted to purchase an Octopus Card for ourselves. This card is similar to Malaysia’s Touch n Go Card, a prepaid card that can be utilised in the MTR stations (LRT stations for Malaysia). The only difference with an Octopus Card is that it can also be used to pay for purchases at places like 7-11 or McDonalds. Also, every now and then at certain locations, there would be a machine (approximately one quarter the size of an average drink machine) where you can swipe your Octopus Card and it will automatically reload HKD2 free of charge! That also means you get a HKD2 discount the next time you take the MTR. However, you can only swipe the card once each time after you have utilised it – fair enough.

The other thing about all escalators in the MTR stations: their momentum is quicker than any I have ever encountered in my life. I could never multitask on those escalators and that includes taking my mind of the escalator to think about something else. Whenever I travel on one of those in the MTR stations, I had to place full concentration and attention or else I would surely lose my grip. Even getting on proves to be quite a problem as it moves way too quickly (I suppose I do have delayed reaction occasionally but trust me on this one). There were couple of times when I was so unstable because of the momentum that I nearly fell while I was on the escalator. I suppose HK people are always in a hurry to get everywhere and since MTRs were their primary mode of transportation, they sped up the escalators to cope with their lifestyle.

We then proceeded to Miu Kai, a Petaling Street like area. In the midst of the shopping haven, we found a place to have dinner. They served claypot rice and various types of seafood. Renee ordered claypot rice that came with four pieces of cut sausages on top. Two of them were normal looking Chinese sausages and the other two looked like poo (some of them even said it looks like a dick cut into half). It was most fascinating and all of us had a pretty good laugh. Mine was ordinary looking ginger chicken claypot rice while Ivan’s claypot rice came with a slice of beef with a raw egg on top. He declared that his dinner was one of the worst tasting ever and I have to admit mine was a little too tasteless for my liking. Claypot rice is a famous delicacy in HK and it was actually food for the poor back in the older days – they would cook rice in a claypot accompanied by some little meat that they could afford. That probably explained the simplicity in preparing it and especially so the lack of flavour.

Having experienced what the poor’s meals were like in HK during the older days, we continued to walk around Miu Kai. Those who had not brought along or had gloves as yet figured that it was pretty wise to invest in a pair (after the bad windy unforgettable experience in Avenue of Stars) hence they got themselves a rather economical pair at HKD5. They – including Ivan, later on claimed that it “lau fung”, meaning that the cold air could still hit their skin even with the gloves on. Why of course! I was beginning to wonder if they expected a HKD5 pair of gloves to function like a pair of leather ski gloves. Good thing I have my leather gloves, one of the many items that I brought back upon returning from my studies in Australia two years ago. Even mine were a little “lau fung”, though I suspect it was not as bad as theirs.

I saw many things of interest there in Miu Kai (mainly decorative items or stuff that I would never make good use of) but did not purchase them as I was pretty confident they would only be left to collect dust upon residing in my home. Besides, Ivan and I did not want to spend too much then as it was only the beginning of our trip and we wanted to make sure that we had enough for the remaining days – if we did not have enough HKDs, changing currencies there would pose a problem as the rates were not in our favour. However, it was difficult to make an estimation of how much we would really need to put aside for the next few days. Nonetheless, Ivan bought me a sweet looking bracelet at one of the street stalls, with hearts and pink crystals on it. The best part of all is that is actually fits my wrist! I have never, in my whole entire life, found a pair of bracelet that could fit so perfectly around my ever so undersized wrist.

After we have all shopped to our hearts’ content, we had decided to call it a day hence we headed back to Kimberly. Upon reaching the hotel, it was already past 11pm and we were all beat tired from all the walking we have done the entire day (what more with the drastic freezing and defrosting that took place a couple of times). Jaffri had HK feet – imagine how it feels to have HK feet in HK, so the whole room stank of his ever lovely feet. It was overwhelming when I first stepped into the room but after a while, it had become bearable (probably because my nasal senses had been overworked and slept earlier than my physical self). After we had all finished taking our baths, our physical selves went to bed. There were two single beds so Ivan said he would sleep on the floor as he did not want to wake me (I am a very light sleeper) while Jaffri and Jasmine shared the other bed.

 
Friday, February 17, 2006
posted by Amie Lee at 10:57 am

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One Sunday night / Monday morning in December, from 3am to 7am, was one of the most torturous moments in my life. I lay awake, shivering and sweating at the same time, in my comforter. My eyes were shut as tight as they possibly could, so tight that tears were flowing out. If I could shut my ears and my nose, I would have done so too. I did not dare to move an inch nor take the slightest peek. As much as I wanted to look at the time, not even the bravest of me dared to do that. I did not dare to think nor imagine too much - my mind just refused to rest.

I did not dare to open my eyes as I was afraid I would see a demon.

I did not dare to listen as I was afraid I would hear the demon calling my name.

I did not dare to breathe as I was afraid I would smell something burning.

I did not dare to move as I was afraid I would touch the demon that might be just beside me.

I did not dare to look at the time as I was afraid it was 3am.

I did not dare to think as thoughts worsened my condition.

All these were because I watched the Exorcism of Emily Rose (for those of you who have not heard of this movie, go to www.gsc.com.my) in the Cineplex earlier in the day. Those who have seen the movie would be able to relate my fears (I think).

I have never been so spooked out by a horror movie in my whole life. I have never stayed awake at nights due to such circumstances. I have never replayed a horror movie in my mind so many times. Never. This is definitely the first – and hopefully the last. I could never forget the words and the expressions on Emily’s face throughout the show. Maybe this is largely contributed by the statement at the very beginning of the show, which goes something along the lines of: This show is based on a true story.

The fear that I felt (and occasionally still feel) cannot be described in words. I have sworn never to watch another horror movie again in a long time to come - and I am still keeping to it.
 
Thursday, February 16, 2006
posted by Amie Lee at 11:21 am

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It is a long story indeed but the bottom line is, I was scheduled to go for a blood test last Friday after work. On the way home in the train, I expressed my fear repeatedly to the ever patient and sympathetic Ivan. When we got to the car, I was more fearful than every moment I have ever lived. I even asked Ivan if we could do it next week instead and he gave me a look that obviously meant no.

He then drove me to the clinic. When I was walking there, I could not stop scratching and pinching him because I had to let out my fear and anxiety. He squirmed like a worm and I told him not to or else I would be even more afraid, due to not being able to let out my apprehension (on him). After what seemed like forever, we finally reached the clinic. I really wanted to turn back then but I knew it was not something I could do.

Now let’s fast forward everything up till the moment when the blood sucking process commenced. I told the doctor to get over with it (before all the routine questions, et cetera) because I am abnormally troubled about needles and blood. He told Ivan to sit outside but Ivan said insisted on staying with me to provide moral support. When the doctor found out how frightened I was, he too agreed that Ivan should stay with me.

I then told the doctor that my vein is indeed very difficult to locate. The previous doctor that took my blood poked twice into my right hand and then twice into my left hand before she finally managed to get my blood. That was a real torture indeed – worse than any form of abuse. So then this doctor strangled my arm with a thin piece of cloth really tightly. It hurt so much that I was yelling (I know, I am a drama queen).

My eyes were shut so tight that tears were flowing out while my right hand acted as a second shield to prevent my eyes from looking at my arm. I was gripping a small wooden rod (that the doctor gave me) in my left hand. Then, I felt the needle poking thrice into my arm before the doctor finally managed to get some blood from me. The first two was hardly felt but the third one felt like a genuine puncture.

After the genuine puncture, I felt the needle penetrating further another time. By then, I had almost passed out. He took an extremely long time to get my blood. When it was over, he said, “It wasn’t that bad after all right? If you get upset, you will only upset yourself and the doctor.” I wanted to punch him after that sarcastic and untrue (the bit about it not being that bad) statement but in the after-shock state that I was, I could not possibly do that. Ivan’s peck on my forehead soothed the pain but it definitely did not get rid of it.

The doctor put a cotton wool on the injured spot on my arm and taped it in place. He then told me to bend my elbow so that the bleeding would stop. I willingly did that and my arm stayed in that very position until I have reached home – moving it would cause me unbearable pain. I then removed the cotton wool and tried to straighten my arm. It hurt so much that I had decided not to move my arm for the rest of the night and that was exactly what I did – Ivan and dad attended to all my requests.
 
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
posted by Amie Lee at 8:57 am

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Happy Valentine's Day to everyone out there.

Spend adequately but do not spend foolishly... Cheers!
 
Wednesday, February 08, 2006
posted by Amie Lee at 11:07 am

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Is it really true that one’s first love is always the most unforgettable? Some say yes and some say no. Truth is, I find the question a little difficult to comprehend (I probably have low intelligence level)… And, the definition of “first love” is rather vague.

I had my first boyfriend so long ago that I cannot even recall his name (I never had a thing with names). Also, I could not recall having any significant feelings for him. The only thing I recall are some flashbacks of us holding hands walking in the park (some dirty and muddy park, badly maintained), him sweeping some grass off my feet (told you it’s a dirty and muddy park), pushing me on the swing (fortunately, not off the swing) and that is just about everything I remember about him. Yes, I know it sounds like we only meet in the park… Fact is (as much as I hate to admit it), it is true. Justification: We were only together for a week, we couldn’t have travelled far. So, is he my first love?

Some time after the love in the park episode, I dated another guy for a little more than a year and I was barely 15 years of age (it was a time in my life where the word underage is a serious understatement) then. At that particular moment in my life, I felt that he was everything to me and I loved him more than anything in the world (with the exception of myself, of course). However, looking back, I realised it was only puppy love – love without commitment. He was the sweetest, most sensitive guy and he was all a girl my age back then could ever ask for… So, is he my first love?

Just before leaving high school, I found who I thought was the guy of my dreams (never would I in my wildest dreams thought that I was so wrong). Initially, he seemed so perfect that I thought it was going to last forever. This is especially so for me after meeting so many Mr Wrongs. After living a fairy-tale like life with him (Cinderella after she married the Prince), he eventually started giving me sleepless nights and putting me on a roller coaster ride. I cried because of him once in 2 months, then once every month, then once every week, and consequently I proceeded to being a daily tear fountain. After quite a while (with all the hurt and pain he has caused me), I then realised that my feelings for him were no longer the same… It was then that I decided we should go separate ways. So, is he my first love?

Regardless of whichever above best describes the definition of my first love, I still do not agree with the statement that one's first love is always the most unforgettable. Initially, I found it rather difficult to let go and I did hurt very much in the process. However, at this moment in my life, I have long forgotten my first love (and second and third, etc.) and I am glad I have. Life goes on and I have moved on because I know I cannot keep hanging on to the past as it does not repeat itself. People can always get back together with the person they were once with but things will never be the same again. Besides, the break ups did happen for a reason right?
 
Monday, February 06, 2006
posted by Amie Lee at 11:04 am

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I've learned… That life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes.

I've learned... That we should be glad God doesn't give us everything we ask for.

I've learned... That money doesn't buy class.

I've learned... That it's those small daily happenings that make life so spectacular.

I've learned... That under everyone's hard shell is someone who wants to be appreciated and loved.

I've learned... That God didn't do it all in one day. What makes me think I can?

I've learned... That to ignore the facts does not change the facts.

I've learned... That when you plan to get even with someone, you are only letting that person continue to hurt you.

I've learned... That love, not time, heals all wounds.

I've learned... That the easiest way for me to grow as a person is to surround myself with people smarter than I am.

I've learned... That everyone you meet deserves to be greeted with a smile.

I've learned... That no one is perfect until you fall in love with them.

I've learned... That life is tough, but I'm tougher.

I've learned... That opportunities are never lost; someone will take the ones you miss.

I've learned... That when you harbor bitterness, happiness will dock elsewhere.

I've learned... That I wish I could have told those I cared about that I love them one more time before they passed away.

I've learned... That one should keep his words both soft and tender, because tomorrow he may have to eat them.

I've learned... That a smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks.

I've learned... That I can't choose how I feel, but I can choose what I do about it.

I've learned... That everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness, and growth happen while you're climbing it.

Life is such that we will never be happy with what we have, and never know how truly valuable it is... Until we have lost it.
 
Friday, February 03, 2006
posted by Amie Lee at 6:31 pm

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I have been a frequent passenger / customer of the Malaysian LRT system for close to two years now, as it is my portal from home to office and vice versa. Two years may not seem like a long time, but the experiences and stories I have gathered is enough to drive me bonkers. I have plenty of experiences (so much so my ex-colleague suggested that I publish a book of all my LRT stories) but I will only share some of the more “memorable” ones here, which will probably illustrate the typical “well mannered” Malaysian (I don’t mean to be sarcastic but if I am not, indecent words would crop up – take your pick).

There was once I waited a really long time for the Star line train but it never seemed to arrive. The crowd was enormous and I was standing right in front (still behind the yellow line, that is - I am an ethical person). I knew for certain that I was going to be pushed into the train once it arrived as those around me would not be as patient as myself to allow those who were coming out to exit first. Finally the train arrived and although it had not fully stopped, everyone had already started to push me forward. The door opened and I felt like I was in an ant mine for a moment there, with people pushing to get in and out… I resisted the shoves as much as I could. Then came this Indian lady from right behind, screaming, “Tolak! Tolak! Tolak! (Push! Push! Push!)”, while doing just that (she had no right to say that if she was not a gynae). Before I knew it, she pushed her way in to right behind me and started pushing me. She was carrying a huge plastic bag and went on scraping my pantyhose without a care in the world. I glared at her but she did not even know I exist. In the train (when I finally made my way in), she stood just opposite me so I kept my glare to make her feel guilty. Guess what? She too, glared and scowled at me the whole journey – until she got down, as if I was the one who did what she did and was as immoral as herself. Hah! What more can I say.

Together with my very handsome escort, we entered the Putra line train. It was crowded and there were no vacant seats so we held on to the metal bars located in the middle, just in front of the door. We stood facing each other, hence, he was holding the bar with his right hand and I with my left. Our distance from each other was less than an inch apart as the train was really packed - peak hour. At the next stop, a Malay (or maybe Indian, actually it might be Mamak) lady got in and rudely squeezed her hand in between us – right in front of my face, to grip the bar. When the train started moving, we (my handsome escort and I) were holding a conversation while laughing softly every now and then. The lady’s arm kept hitting my face and oiling my glasses, but I didn’t have enough space to move back and avoid. She was scowling at us (when I thought it should be the other way around) ever since she got in. After a while, she opened her mouth, “Jangan buat macam ini di tempat awam. Nanti saya report kepada DBKL (Do not do this in a public area. I will report to DBKL)!”. She threatened to report us to the town council for having a conversation in the train - I am truly puzzled. If we were touching each other all over, I would understand her rationale… But how is that even the slightest bit possible when she placed her chunky hand between us? I could not even admire my handsome escort anymore, what more lay a finger on him. Hence I rest my case.

I was seated comfortably in the Star line train on an averagely crowded day. There was an empty space next to me that can only fit a really slim lady (or man, but I doubt the likelihood of that). Anyhow, there were already six people sitting on the same row of bench as myself and that was normally the case. Hence I moved a little towards the empty space on my left, hoping that no one would try to squeeze in on either side – otherwise I would be a certified pancake. People who got in the first two stops were civilised enough not to try and fit themselves in the little space (they were probably conscious of their circumference). Then in came this guy at the next stop, in his late twenties, who weighs AT LEAST 80 kilograms and is around 170 centimetres tall. He stood on my left and bent his body towards the seat, indicating that he wanted to seat and that I should move to my right. I took a while to digest that because it has never occurred to me (and never will) a guy his size would even consider sitting or imagine himself fitting in that small space. While I was processing that thought, he has already proceeded to sit… On my left leg. I nearly screamed but I managed to control myself. I then moved as much as I could to the right but his thighs were still resting on mine and his sweaty arms were touching mine. I decided to get up and stand instead, and I hope that made him feel really ashamed of fatass self.

After the stories people tell me about the Kelana Jaya station, the first terminal for the Putra line train, I wish I boarded the train from that station everyday. Malaysians in that station are actually civilised, educated and refined enough to QUEUE UP. Can you believe that (they queue up!)? I resolute to pay that station a visit on one very busy morning just to take a few pictures of what goes on there (they queue up!). This is so I can enlarge those pictures and paste them at every other LRT stations to show the other not so cultured Malaysians some good examples (they queue up!).

At all the other stations I have been to – especially Masjid Jamek when boarding the Putra line train, people behave like getting onto the train is the only route to survival. They never allow people to exit before entering the train. Once the train doors open, they scuttle in without a care in the world. There were a few occasions when I was standing right in front of the crowd (I would rather use the word crowd than queue here) but I never got to go in. Why? As I was waiting for people to exit, those in the crowd have already barged in, I mean entered – from every direction, hence there was no space left for poor me.

Hence I conclude that there are simply two very simple reasons that Malaysians DO NOT QUEUE (and push everything else in their way - including poor little me):

They want to get a seat.
They want to get in the train.

We call the Singaporeans kiasu… And what are we?

Horrifyingly kiasufied.