These three words caught my attention while I was browsing through my phone at breakfast. First, this is unusual because I discourage phones at meal time but today was an extremely rare occasion. Seriously! I never get a calm and relaxed breakfast. Saturday breakfast all by myself at McDonald’s. Am I dreaming?
As I was saying, ‘Change your attitude’. A survey conducted by JobStreet had revealed the mystery behind why there are so many unemployed fresh graduates and it is due to their attitude.
This isn’t something new. I’ve heard it before. Friends from HR department, reiterated that same sentiments.
This takes me back to my interview just a couple of days ago.
I had this wonderful opportunity to work with a telco company. They had come up with a brilliant CSR project; their way of giving it back to the community and I loved it!
I was extremely excited to be part of it. The money was good too but that wasn’t what got me excited.
Everything seemed to be fine. In fact I even started preparing my lesson plans. I had drafted a couple of interesting ways to connect with my audience but little did I know, they had second thoughts about me.
It was the perfect job for a mother like me. I only had to work once a week. The only drawback was its location. I knew it would have been a problem and I acknowledged it but with a little planning, I knew anything was possible.
I had laid out my limitations because I am a full-time mother and everything else is secondary. They seemed fine with it and led to believe everything was fine.
Without an explanation or even a simple note, I was cast aside.
So what did this deduce out of this situation? Was I considered to have unrealistic expectations? Could I have been clumped together with all those unemployed fresh graduates who are said to have terrible attitudes?
The thing is I would not know because those who interviewed, whom I met up with on three separate occasions and had many conversation over the phone, just dropped everything. No more calls or messages.
Honestly apart from my role as a mother, I was perfect for the task and they made it quite clear they wanted me. They even confided in me, revealing how tough it was getting someone who was up to it.
I’m not upset over not getting it. In fact I’m a little relieved. I’m glad to have someone who can give more than what I could have. It’s the sudden silence. They not knowing if I was still on board. The courtesy call to say I didn’t have to sign my contract. (That’s how far deep into the employment deal I was.)
I’m pretty sure I am not the only one who has this beef. My husband had complained about it too once. He too had a similar experience.
Not getting a job is quite upsetting but not knowing why and waiting for the interviewer’s response is worse. How do you expect a change when you don’t take the effort to tell what wasn’t right.
A letter of unsuccessful interview is a nice way to end it. In fact it should be made a requirement for all employers to issue to potential candidates. It’s a way to show that the employer appreciated the time and effort put in by the potential candidate but they are sorry for whatever reason.
When I was a fresh graduate, this was a normal practice. Has it changed over the years?
To expect change, one needs to state the problem area.
Just my ramblings, as I sit and watch many youngsters going through their phones. Are they searching for a job?
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My husband always puts me in charge when things go wrong with our reservation or if we needed to get a good bargain. I have a knack for finding ways to right a wrong and get a bonus out of the situation. My tag line, “it was rightfully mine.”
En route to pick my mom up, I had a beautiful encounter with a simple man, with seemingly simpler needs. Whilst trying to climb up a step, he stumbled and fell. I raced towards him to help him up. He gently refused but seeing that I wasn’t going to leave him alone, he passed his shoulder bag to me, while he tried to steady himself and slowly take that step.
“It’s not a big deal, I’ve fallen so many times that I’m used to it”, he said as we slowly walked towards the local health clinic, a pace too slow for me but I wasn’t in a hurry. As we reached another step, I extended my hands but he just smiled and began telling me about his weak legs and how no medicine can cure him. Yet, he visits many clinic each month to find medicine that will ease his pain.
It was a slow and painful walk for him. He just endured and spoke softly about his legs. He wasn’t complaining, he was just telling me about it.
As I was wondering why he didn’t park his car inside the clinic, he began telling me how he tried to park his car at the designated handicapped parking but was denied because he didn’t have a handicapped parking person sticker on his car. He never bothered to get it because the parking attendance at his previous clinic knew him and always allowed him to park inside.
I was so ready to give the guard at my mom’s local clinic a piece of my mind and relate to him how his wrong doing had caused this man to fall but before I could speak my thoughts, he smiled and said, “it wasn’t the guard’s fault, because I am new here and I should have had an OKU sticker on my car” He even smiled at the guard as we passed him. I looked back and caught him looking at the old man with some degree of concern. Perhaps he must have been regretting his action.
It’s my right! These words came ringing in my head because if it was me in his situation, I would have bitten the guard’s head off for not letting me park at the handicap parking bay, which was empty by the way. But not this old man. He just walked past the guard and sat quietly on a bench with his hands clasped together forming a diamond. He had his eyes shut as I walked on to my mom’s waiting room.
After helping my mom collect her monthly medication, I related the story to her and she too felt the guard was wrong. But as we walked past the man, whom was still sitting in the same way he was when I last saw him, all anger we felt for the guard vanished.
This reminded me of a phrase I know too well but hardly practice; be the lotus flower growing in a muddy pond. So beautiful and pure it grows, unaffected by the mud around it.
I never let things go. I react too fast because I get affected too easily. The old man had all the right reasons to pick a fight and demand that he was allowed to park inside the clinic area, but he didn’t. He just sat there, with his hands clasped in a diamond form, silently and patiently for his turn to see the doctor.
Despite sitting right in front of the vacant handicapped parking, he didn’t show any signs of anger festering in him. He was the lotus flower at this overly crowded health clinic. He was unaffected and didn’t let the surrounding affect him. He just was being him.
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Firstly I am amazed at how far my first born has made it in her footie adventure. When they first joined this amazing all girls football team, never in a million years did my daughters, my husband or I ever dreamt of it giving us such a wonderful experience.
It was May 2015, one bright sunny evening. My husband and I nervously approached some moms and dads at the USJ 4 field. It was hard to get their attention because they were busy laying out food for their Vasakhi potluck party, which later we learned is something these crazy awesome bunch of volunteers from the Subang Jaya Community Sports Club (SJCSC), love doing.
Many were dressed in fine Punjabi suits and the men, wore their favourite Kurtis. Some non Punjabis even donned on the turbans. How cool was that?
I was in my old tattered jeans (one of my few favourite posession which I had been wearing for over a decade) and my husband in his usual loose football shorts and oversized sandals. Both my girls begged us to turn back because they too felt out of place. I’m glad my husband, a football lover, did what he does best when it comes to football, he walked right up and asked if my girls could join them. The rest is history.
It took a lot dedication and we had to give up our bum lifestyles; which was spending the whole weekend cooped up in our house watching television.
Every weekend we were would drag ourselves out of the house and onto the field for football training. During tournament season, it was mapping KL roads. Going to places we would normally never go and spending our whole morning and afternoon at these tournaments.
Most of these tournaments would start about 7.30 (we meet early to warm up together) and end about 2 pm if we are lucky but usually can last until 3 or 4 pm.
Every weekend there is football, if it’s not a tournament then it would be training. As tough as it sounds, it is a lot of fun too.
It’s lovely to see these girls, ages between 5 to 13 years old meet up and train. It’s not just about football, it’s more than that. Although they meet only once a week but the connection between them is good. They always seemed eager to train, which is a positive attitude.
We are lucky to have such a dedicated team coordinator and awesome team committee. These people not only jive well with each other but are genuinely interested in helping girls in their football journey.
They get them into tournaments so it would give these girls the confidence they need. Even if it means joining all boys tournaments and playing against all boys teams because football is still, a male dominated sport.
But luckily Astro Kasih saw the gap and decided to give equal opportunity to young girls, and a footing in football. They are helping both young girls and boys by giving them a invaluable experience.
And that’s how my daughter ended up in Barcelona, Spain for a 10 day overseas football training camp at FCB Escola.
It’s brilliant what she is experiencing at this moment. Would there be more opportunities for girls in football? We and many parents have our fingers crossed.
But for time being, we are just taking one step at a time and enjoying her journey. Hoping she would be able to do more when she returns and help others along the way.
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“This time tomorrow, I won’t be doing the dishes and the next morning I won’t be taking Bahadur for a walk or any of my usual mundane routine stuff”, said my eldest, looking rather glum at the dinner table .
“But I thought you hated all these chores?” I butt in, trying to make light of the matter.
She was sad because this would be her first trip without us but was happy about going to Barcelona for a football camp.
She didn’t know how to react because she had worked for it and did her best to be part of the lucky 32 that be attending a 10 days football training but as the day drew closer, her feelings were playing with her. It was a big bag of mixed emotions.
“Are you sure you are my Asheesh?” I asked her because kids her age wouldn’t worry about missing their daily mundane stuff.
“Yea! Imagine no nagging ma to annoy you,” her little sister said annoyingly.
Listening to her speak about how she was going to miss the normal and mundane in her life made her sound so matured.
Perhaps she too feels that wonderful feeling my husband and I get each time we return home after our holiday or weekend away.
There’s truly no place like home.
Barcelona Chronicles continues…
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During my sporting days; I was a runner and played netball for school which pretty much up sums up the extent of my athleticism, but I always complained of the heat.
It took too much energy off me when I was training or during actual competitions because I would be drenched by the end of it. Feeling completely exhausted and burnt all over which was just the right recipe for me to complain and bitch, and cry and kick.
Sunblock wasn’t a thing back then and non existence for a suburban girl like me.
On one misty morning, many moons ago, I noticed an improvement in my athletic skills. A much better performance than my usual attempts at a cross country run because on that particular day, the sun was hidden behind thick dense clouds and the air was fresh. Felt like I was running under a perpetual soft rain fall, that kept my body temperature cool.
I managed to secure the second spot, just seconds after the victor. Immediately a judgement was passed; that people from cold country were so lucky because they didn’t have to suffer running under humid hot weather like mine, and perhaps that was the reason most of the fastest runners were from that part of the world (then).
That was the extent of my sporting knowledge, limited to my locality and experience.
But listening to my daughter sharing on about the experiences she’s gaining while at a football training camp in Barcelona was so insightful.
“It’s so painful and hard to breathe, ma”. I constantly feel like there is something stuck in my throat and I have to cough it out to clear it so the air can travel to my lungs”, she complained during my most recent Skype conversation with her and her friend; who usually joins in this Skype conversations, nodding excitedly at their recent experience.
Football was predominantly a male sporting activity but not anymore. Although they aren’t many woman footballers in the professional arena, as compared to men, it has not stopped girls from picking up this sport.
Thankfully these days you are able to find some all girls football teams like the Supergirls.
On September 2016, 7 players from the Supergirls moved on to Phase 2 for a five-day residential Advanced Training Camp in Kuala Lumpur. They were selected out of thousands of young footballers (ages 10 to 12 years) during a nationwide search by Astro Kem Bola 2016. This was a proud moment for all the Supergirls’ players, coaches and parents.
And for Phase 3, Astro Kem Bola 2016 programme, 4 of our girls have been selected for a 10-day Overseas Training Programme in Barcelona. They are currently undergoing a Pre-Barcelona Camp in Kuala Lumpur before they leave for a 10 Day Overseas Football Training in Barcelona, Spain.
They will take part in an immersive exchange programme which includes training under the local academy coaches, attending a live professional football match as well as a series of friendly matches against local youth sides, in Barcelona.
These girls, by that I mean each and every single Supergirls player has never ceased to amaze us with their dedication and love for the game.
We are particularly proud of what these four girls have achieved thus far and are rooting for more success for all girls from the Supergirls in the near future.
The Supergirls is the first Malaysian grassroots all-girls football team between the ages of 6 to 12 years old. It was conceptualised in 2014 and it’s first training was held on 18 January 2014.
To date Supergirls have over 30 girls, aged between 6 to 12 years old. Enrollment is open throughout the year and all you need to be part of the Supergirls, is the passion to play, regardless of skills.
“While no one would join the league without a love for football, our league is actually less about football and more about growing balanced kids and healthy families. We strongly encourage all parents to attend their children’s games, support them as they play and make life-long family memories. All officials are parents and other volunteers from the community. Our core values include unity, service and family” SJCSC vision statement
Every year to celebrate the school year coming to an end, teachers at my children’s school love to have a party, especially for those moving out of school or their classroom, as they move up to another level.
This year’s theme was to dress up like any cartoon character. So a cosplay was in place. I’m not much of an artistic person when it comes to such display but seeing their enthusiasm wanting to be part of it, made me excited too.
With a little planning, I’m pleased to say, we managed to pull off a more than just a decent resemblance to their choice of character.
A strong willed and determined character from How to train your dragon. We decided to go with her costume from the first movie, when she was much younger.
The biggest detail in her outfit was the skirt. We used crepe paper here. Looked rather nice while it was laid out on my dining table but little did we know how fragile the pointy strips would be once on her. But the axe and shield, that is something we are very proud of.
Used an old tree branch and a flat surfaced rock from my garden. With a little cloth tape and crepe paper, we managed to turn these into something resembling an axe. And for her shield, we used my stainless steel, deep heavy bottomed pot’s top cover. This saved us a lot of time because there was no need to cut out a cake board and stick a handle to it. If time permits, decorate the shield with some symbols to make it look more personal and used.
Astrid’s hair is fairly simple to do. It’s just two ponytail tied together with a piece of rag or in this case a thick woven thread around her head. You may want to google that up.
We could not find feathers to put on top of her boots, so my Astrid settled for leather boots. A tad big for her but we had no other option.
God have mercy on her feet and let the cool weather stay whilst she’s at school.
An important point to note for those of you planning to attempt this: I should have used the cloth tape (the one used to make her belt), a piece of brown cloth or leather looking PVC to make the skirts’ pointy strips instead of the brown crepe paper. This way you can be rest assured, the skirt will stay intact no matter how roughly your Astrid moves in it.
“You cannot expect me to move like a princess, all dainty, whilst dressed like Astrid”, she lashed backs at my instruction to take it easy on the skirt.
Rey (Star Wars: The Force Awakens)
A hotheaded, bad-ass, gear-head loner. Another strong willed character became the central part in out little cosplay. My almost tween had a tough time deciding between Rey and a female footballer as her character.
This took minutes to put on. The only work required was her boots and the staff. We used an old tree branch and tapped a silver/grey cloth like tape all around it. For her boots, we used her ballet pumps and covered it with her football socks, to make it looks like she’s wearing long boots. Amazingly, she managed to pull it off rather well.
I used my pashmina scarf for the vicose used by Rey, and draped it along my daughter’s shoulders right to the front of her body. No pins were used to keep it intact, so it would give a more natural flow as she moved. And we used an arm cover for cotton drapped around Rey’s arms.
It’s the confidence that matters. You can wear whatever you like as long as you have the confidence to pull it off. I have to give her 100% for that.
Rey has triple buns (tiny ponytail loops) as part of her character costume but I wasn’t able to pull that off in 5 minutes. We were running late so my best was double buns.
You start off with a tiny ponytail right above her head. Then divide hair into two (three if you want Rey’s effect) sections. Secure with an elastic band as you would a ponytail but as you come to the end, leave your ponytail in a loop. Roll up the remainder of the hair along the elastic band and secure with pins. The triple buns are actually tiny ponytail loops. Please check YouTube tutorials on how to do this.
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I’m a sucker for cookies, cake, coffee and ice cream, and I love when I can combine all these ingredients and turn it into a cold coffee ice cream float. Really yummy but just too much work for something I can finish at one go (gluttony at its best). Who has time to first brew coffee, then allow it to cool before freezing it and then blend the whole concoction up? Being a mom, time is scarce, so this is kept for special occasions.
There are just a handful of sweet things I crave and most of it, you guessed it, must have some coffee in it.
Tiramisu is one of my favourite cakes. The layers of luscious smooth cream with the aromatic espresso soaked sponge fingers and just the faintest hint of the heat from liquor. I could eat a whole cake, over the course of four days. C’mon, you thought I could eat it at one go? That’s crazy.
For my husband’s birthday, I decided to bake, hmm perhaps the right term should be make since no baking is required, a tiramisu cake. Even though he isn’t fond of Tiramisu, I went ahead with it because it had all the ingredient I loved
The recipe calls for mascarpone cheese which is a rich, velvety smooth cream and quite pricey. This is one recipe in which you cannot substitute the cheese with another (cream cheese or ricotta). Some recipes allows for this substitution but the end result, though it may look like Tiramisu, will not taste like it at all. So if you cannot get your hands on good grade mascarpone cheese, I suggest you drop the idea of making it.
Most recipes call for the same ingredients so you can pretty much pick any recipe from the world wide web because there isn’t much changes you can do to the original recipe. But how you make it, can differ.
Generally there are two ways of making Tiramisu. The simplest way requires no cooking at all. It’s entirely raw but since tiramisu has eggs in it and I wanted to turn it into an ice cream, I decided to go with the next option, where a little cooking is required. Plus, I wasn’t entirely sure how fresh my eggs were. So to be safe, let’s go with option two, with a little cooking involved.
2 teaspoon coffee* dissolved in 1/2 cup hot water, let it cool
6 egg yolk
1 cup sugar*
250gm mascarpone cheese
1 1/2 cup heavy cream ( I used whipping cream)*
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 boxes lady fingers
Some cocoa powder (look for unsweetened)
You start by bringing everything (except for the cream) out of your refrigerator so that it will come to room temperature by the time you are ready to whip up the cheese and putting a large clean stainless steel bowl into the fridge.
Start with the coffee if you are using instant coffee but freshly brewed espresso is always the best and let it cool. *Somehow coffee has a bitter taste but this time you are allowed to substitute coffee for espresso as the difference isn’t noticeable.
Next, prepare a bubble bath for the egg yolks and sugar *(you can use granulated sugar or fine for this recipe because it will dissolve in heat). You have turn these two ingredients into a velvety ribbon like, light yellowish custard. Start with boiling some water in a pot and cover that pot with bowl. Bring down the heat to a simmer and add the egg yolks into this bowl. Whisk it to combine and slowly add in sugar. This is the hardest part, you have to keep whisking it. You cannot leave it alone, not even for a second. This could take anywhere between 5 minutes to 10. Just keep at it and you will end up with a rich beautiful custard. If the mixture thickens too much, once the sugar has dissolved into finer grains, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of milk ad keep whisking it. You know you are done, once you have reached a smooth, runny texture and put it aside to cool. It is fine if all the sugar has not dissolved because it will as you put it aside while you work on whipping cheese and cream. You may want to transfer this custard into a larger bowl that can hold mascarpone cheese and whipped cream.
Take out the cream and pour it into the cooled bowl. Whip this until you reach stiff peaks. If you don’t own an electrical whip, this can take a while, a long long while. Almost 20 minutes. Look at it as a good arm workout before you indulge and pack back all the calories your burned.
By the time you get to the mascarpone cheese, it would have reached room temperature and ready to be added into the rest of the ingredients. Run a fork into the cheese to make sure there are no large lumps before adding it to the cooled egg yolk and sugar mixture (I’ll refer to this as custard). Mix to combine the cheese and the custard. Once well combined, slowly add the whipped cream. Gently fold in the whipped cream into the custard and cheese mixture. Don’t overmix it as you don’t want to lose all air that you so painfully incorporated into the cream while whipping it. Use the folding technique; check out youtube videos on how to fold whipped cream.
Phew! Finally we reach the last stage. The assembling stage like we do for lasagne.
Start by dipping (really quickly) the sponge fingers into the cooled coffee and arranging it in your tray or glass serving dish. Make sure to neatly and tightly pack these fingers. Once you have fully covered the bottom of you dish with fingers, scoop in the cheese mixture on it. Use half of the content in the bowl. Repeat with the sponge fingers, followed by the remaining cheese mixture. Usually many would dust cocoa powder on the assembled Tiramisu before putting it in the fridge for at least 8 hours but I didn’t.
I cling wrapped my Tiramisu and left it in the fridge for 8 hours. Take it out and enjoy a slice or two. I found it a little too sweet for my liking so i decided to turn it into an ice cream by adding two layers of foil onto the existing cling wrap and transferring this cake to the freezer.
The beauty of this, you can keep for a couple of months and cut out a slice whenever you feel like it. You cannot completely thaw this. It will turn mushy. The best way to enjoy a piece is by taking out of the freezer for 5 to 10 minutes, this will allow the cream to softened a little so it will be easier to cut out a slice. Dust some cocoa powder and enjoy a cold slice of ice cream cream. BY the time you are ready to enjoy this cake, it would have softened but still remain cold and it would not be too sweet. Something about turning it into an ice cream, magically cuts out the sweetness of the cake.
If you like to play with your food like I, take out a third of the cheese mixture and use it to make Green Tiramisu cake. It’s not like the original coffee Tiramisu but why not?
To make this, you swap the coffee to green tea. Dip the sponge fingers into the cooled green tea, arrange them neatly and pour all the cheese mixture on the sponge fingerts. Refrigerate for 8 hours and enjoy. Cut a slice and dust it with Matcha powder.
I’m not going to bore you with the benefits of coconut milk over cow’s milk. The reason you are here is because you were planning to use coconut in your cooking. So let me take you straight to a wonderful baked chicken recipe that is a sure win.
Follow this simple recipe and you are going to be serving an extremely decadent and moist chicken.
I know, roasting and baking a whole chicken has the risk of running dry. I’ve been there, many times and it sucks when that happens because there isn’t much you can do to rectify it. Except maybe chop up the whole chicken and use it for sandwiches, for the whole effing week or up to the point your kids start screaming “Mom, STOP!”
Coconut milk baked chicken.
250ml can of coconut milk. I used fresh coconut milk. Yea that’s me rubbing it in your face!
Whole chicken, cleaned and patted dry
2 tablespoon fresh pounded turmeric paste (or a teaspoon of powder turmeric)
4 crushed garlic cloves
2 lemongrass stalks (cut large chunks, whack it and use only the whiter part of the stalk)
2 lemon juice and rind/zest/peel (whichever makes sense to you)
A large piece of cinnamon stick and 2 star anise
salt to season
Make sure you had your chicken in room temperature for about 30 minutes. Give it a good massage and rub with salt and turmeric paste. Don’t forget to reach every part of the chicken; the thighs, underneath the wings and even rub some inside the chicken.
Transfer the relaxed chicken into an oven proof deep dish. I used my trustee old cast iron. Mix to combine lemon juice, rind and coconut milk. Pour this over the chicken. Throw in the rest of the ingredients. Bake in a preheated oven, 175’C, for about an hour or 200’C for 40 minutes if you are in a hurry.
Half way through, baste the chicken with the milk and don’t worry if the milk starts to curdle up. Just give it a a stir. If you notice the milk drying up, you will need to top it up with either some chicken stock (the best option) or water. This will ensure you don’t end up with a dried up chicken. To see the progress, check out a video I shared on my Instagram account and Facebook page.
The last 5 minutes when your chicken is almost done, crank up your oven temperature to 225 (or 250 if you dare. No please. Don’t do that) and set it to grill mode and let it burn the chicken a little. Please only do this if you still have liquid gold (coconut milk & turmeric mixed together) left in your pot.
Don’t pour away the leftover milk. It makes a good sauce for spaghetti or steamed french beans or any side dish you plan to serve . If it is lumpy, just give it a quick whisk and if it too runny, just let the juice simmer on low heat for a couple of minutes.
Oh! Cleaning up the pot after the chicken is done is a nightmare! But sorry, there is no other way to achieve the barbecued effect other than by letting it burn a little in the pot. It’s worth the pain, just trust me and do it!
p/s: it’s not that hard to clean the pot, just fill it up with tap water and a few drops of dish drop and let the water come to a boil. Grease will slip away after that.