February 20, 2007

Dinner with Directors

Last Friday night , we had dinner at Sanctuary Cove with a group of directors from Malaysia (Dato's and Tan Sris and accompanying Datins). As usual, dh would inform me at the last minute about important events so I did not really have time to find a suitable babysitter for our kids. Nonetheless, dh already figured out a plan with his M'sian colleague who was also invited to the dinner. We were to drop our 2 older kids at the colleague' s house after maghrib and he would call his babysitter service to babysit their twins and our kids. Then us parents (and one baby )would all go together in dh's car. Trust dh to make a foolproof plan. Their house was more than 20 mins away so I knew we were going to be terribly late from the start. (But better late than never hey?).
Anyway, we arrived at the seafood restaurant perhaps more than half hour than we're supposed to and the directors were almost done with their dinner. We introduced ourselves to the group and was later ushered to a empty table reserved for us. (I went earlier to the table coz baby was not happy when the co secretary wanted to be friendly to him). The colleague and his wife knew one of the datins as one of their friend's mum. So the datin came over to talk to them. A dato' also came over to our table and later on a CFO came over to chat with us whereas dh being the perfect host and equipped with his people skills, went over to the other tables to have a chat there while the colleague , his wife and I skimmed through the menu to place our order. I did not really want to order an appetizer as you know, we were fashionably late and it is really not good etiquette to let people (esp VIPs) to wait . However it did not deter the other two to order , say 3 starters and 2 mains amongst themselves while I just ordered a soup and 2 mains for dh and I. The directors looked like they enjoyed their meals and were ordering more stuff so we had some time to eat our dinner before we parted. There was nothing extraordinary about the seafood restaurant . It looked like any other fancy restaurant with white table cloths and cutlery laid meticulously on the tables while waiters in white shirts and black bowties attend to you. However, when I looked outside the glass walls, I could see the silhouettes of yachts anchored at the marina in the pitch darkness of the night. One of them directly outside the restaurant, OMG, was humongous and I thought it looked liked it was more than 70 foot long as it was bigger than 2 bungalows combined.
Initially, the M'sian co secretary had sought dh's help to find out where are the best hotels to stay in Gold Coast. Again, his opinion was sought to find halal Malaysian food and dh had recommended some restaurants we knew of .The next day , dh went to play golf with the directors( after they had their nasi lemak, roti canai and teh tarik for breakfast ) ,as he puts it, at the best golf course he ever played in. Even the golf balls can be tracked down by satellite, (dh mentioned the name of the tracking method but I forgot it). I can see a correlation here , even though the M'sian directors wanted one of the best hotels to stay in and the best golf course to play at, they still love their M'sian hawker style breakfast ie roti canai , nasi lemak and teh tarik in the morning. Soo typical of Malaysians la!

February 11, 2007

The Courteous Bus Driver

Sometimes I will take the bus to get from point A to point B. Public transport is quite efficient here and I can check the bus schedule on the net. Last week I took a bus. I sat in front of the bus as I was carrying baby and a stroller.
I like to observe people coming in or out of the bus or look out the window when I am on the bus. On that particular day, there was an old woman who wanted to get off the bus at one stop but she had difficulty bringing a large shopping bag on wheels down the steps. I wished I could help her but I could not leave my baby on the seat alone. Fortunately for her, the bus driver offered to help and the old lady managed to get off without a hitch after he turned off the bus engine and carried the black trolley bag down for her. She thanked him and remarked to him, "What will I do without you."
A few stops further, a student with deep blue eyes and an American businessman in a yellowish tan colored suit came on board. The student wanted a discounted fare. The bus driver explained to him that he would have to apply for the student card first and showed him the poster about how to apply behind his driver seat. The American wanted to go to the city somewhere and the bus driver said they were headed that way. I knew he was an American from his accent and he was phoning somebody on his mobile about his frequent flyer points what have you, and probably everyone on the bus could have heard his whole conversation of wanting to upgrade to a business class. Then a woman came on at another stop and asked the bus driver whether she is on the correct bus route and which bus should she take after that. The bus driver said she should take bus 333 after that but wasn't sure which side of the road she had to wait for it so he called someone on his phone to confirm before he gave her a definite answer. I was quite impressed with the bus driver's level of professionalism in helping his passengers (not to mention he did offer to help with my stroller down the bus). Bus drivers could be helpful and yet be quite punctual. Hence, being helpful to people isn't an excuse to be late. I don't know if the bus drivers in KL help people in this way at all as I am not a frequent commuter. The buses in KL seems quite crowded especially during peak hours and the safety and well being of passengers are not their utmost priority as the doors are sometimes left open and the bus driver will start driving even if you have not found a good seat to sit yet.

February 08, 2007

February 07, 2007

I was surrounded by..

the whitish hair of senior citizens. You'd think I was in a bingo hall or a place of worship. Nope. I was watching the latest flick, Miss Potter about the life of the writer Beatrice Potter at a cinemaplex. I had 2 free passes to see the movie and I had to go and see. This is one of the rare occasion that I could get to watch a movie of my choice and calibre. Dh sent us to the cineplex after which he had to send ( and babysit) our sons at one of older son friend's birthday party. It was a mid morning show and dd and I headed into the theatre at the same time as 2 senior citizens. I offered to help one lady with a walking stick up the steps. She said she was fine. Dd had shooted ahead and I could not help the old lady much. I just have to admire their sense of independence.
Anyway, about the movie, I could just totally relate to Beatrice Potter who had a mother that could not quite understand her inclination. My mum and I are totally different in personality. She, ultra feminine , ultra tidy, prim and proper sort of a person whilst I am pretty much laid back and pragmatic. She says none of her offsprings follows her traits , being tidy to a t etc. However, I believe my sister follows many of her traits than my mum gives her credit for. They could be twins. The only thing is, my mum would only tell things to me as I could keep a secret better than my sister who would impart any info she knows/hear on the next fella she meets. I like one phrase that the main character Beatrice Potter used in the movie about her relationship with her mother, that she and her mother has reached an understanding that they will not be able to understand each other. Sums it up quite nicely.

February 02, 2007

A Taxi Tale

The kids have started their new school term this week and it looks like they are settling well in their class. So I decided to go out for some shopping today instead of staying in. I took a taxi instead of going by bus as it was raining heavily in the morning. Usually, I would call my normal cab number and they would come right away but today I thought I'd try the alternative cab co. It took quite a long time for the taxi to arrive as my number was linked to another address on their database . Finally, when the taxi arrived, I huddled my baby and stroller in the car while the driver looked on. Normally, they would help me put my stuff in the boot.
When we were in the cab heading to the destination, the driver asked me what religion I was. I said I am muslim. I asked him whether he is muslim or sikh. He said he is Sikh. Then he asked me why muslim men can marry 4? This is one of the favourite questions I get asked by cab drivers when they know I am muslim. So I usually answer it by giving some logical explanation that came into my mind. Honestly, I think a man could rationalise and be able to answer this question himself better than a woman! Today I reasoned that there is only one very very short sentence in the Quran (which contains >6000 aayah/sentences) that mentions men could marry more than one. (So why the fuss?).
Anyway, this particular cab driver was asking me a lot of questions. Eg Where are you from? I answered Malaysia. Before you went to Malaysia, where were you from originally?? Malaysia. I thought I answered that already. Do you speak Urdu? No I don't speak Urdu. More qts. How old are you? How many kids? Are you married ? Are you happily married??? Gosh! He was bombarding me with some personal questions and I wasn't ready for the onslaught. My mind was on other things like when would we arrive at my destination! I am sure he was driving slower... and slower...
At last, when we were almost there, he said "Actually, you have a beautiful face, especially ...." When I heard that, I had to laugh and I said "Gosh , I haven't heard someone said that to me for a long time". And then he went on to say "If you were not married, I would offer you." ??? ?? Me think , OFFER ME WHAT??? But I rather not know the answer. To that, I just hurried myself and baby out of the cab after I paid the fare . He said that he hoped to see me again. No way, jose is all I can say. I am sticking to my old cab co next time.