Saturday, June 11, 2011

Live to Eat

Actually, the title which I used does not reflect the healthy eating habits at all! "Eat to Live" is the healthier version. However, I am sharing some of the delicacies which my mom had just prepared here... Enjoy guys!

Half-eaten cheese cake. The cheese cake has a velvety texture and a tangy lemon taste. However, it is not sweet! The crust is a little salty, though.

This is the prawn sandwich. A crispy prawn patty with some lettuce, slices of cucumber and tomato slices are all sandwiched in between two slices of wheat bread. Yummy and healthy! :D
My breakfast... Tea with a slice of cheese cake and two slices of fruit cake... Not good for dieters!!!


Friday, June 10, 2011

My Brat-tastic Experience! (Part 2)

My Second Day at BRATs
“Ring! Ring!” That was my faithful alarm from my cell phone. I immediately alighted from Dreamland and get prepared for the “dodol” trip. After a hearty buffet breakfast at Lagenda Restaurant in the hotel, we left for our field trip. My group was the last to leave the bus to witness the hard work behind this sticky yet sweet delicacy.
It was around 10.00a.m., when we finally arrived at the small dodol workshop in Kampung Merah. We had to take a short walk down the narrow path before we reached the workshop as the road was too small for the bus to pass through. It looked like a small little house, and you will have to walk down the kitchen to discover the fantabulous secret of dodol. It may be stuffy and hot, but the person behind the scene, Mr Azman was a friendly and chatty person. He explained each of the steps involved in dodol making and the history that lies beneath this sweet. Best of all, we even had the first-hand experience of packing dodol and sample the mouth-watering morsel. The dodol was available in two flavors: Original for RM4.50 and Durian for RM5.50. (The price shown is for 500g boxes)

It was about eleven in the morning when we bade goodbye to the little dodol workshop. Our group was the last to carry out our assignments but the first to leave! The other groups went to visit the Pekan Rabu, the local market and Tun Dr. Mahathir’s birthplace.
After that, before we went to the hotel, we had some pictures at some of the landmarks in Alor Star. However, before I proceed, Please forgive me for not remembering the names of the landmarks except for the “Balai Besar”.

When we returned to the hotel, we had a workshop on the importance of social media by Niki Cheong. Previously, I had the misconception that social media were merely for communication and entertainment…
After that, it was the relatively tiring schedule of editorial activities. Well, it was actually not that tiring, though. Every member was assigned to different roles. We had to prepare two different articles on dodol and a video on it. However, we faced some hitches when it came to the article as our information was not really complete. What was more; we needed 700 words for the first article! Oh my goodness, it was quite tough for my friends and me to complete it! Those involved in the main article were Serena, Constance and me. My brain virtually froze in the cold conference room as I had to figure out the suitable words and sentence structures to ensure that the article turned out to be precise and interesting. Luckily, there were our facilitators, who were the editors to come to our rescue. Niki, who was quite strict yet helpful came over and scanned our articles for any miniscule mistake done. Our article was analyzed thoroughly for proficiency, coherency and being informative.
However, Amanda pronounced “dodol” as “doldol” in the video. (She was the stand upper) Many of us nicknamed her as “Miss DoLdol”, especially among the mischievous boys.
There were even snacks to keep us awake and energized during the tight schedule of getting our assignments done in time!
After a whole day’s work, all of us took a break by having dinner at a stall which sold Laksa Kedah.
The Laksa Kedah was sold in small amounts, but it was just right for me. The sauce was not too thick. The condiment was not really spicy. I like it! It was perfectly matched with “Air Bandung”.
It was around 8.30p.m., when the meal was finally done. There were games, as usual.

Niki, who was famous for his sarcasm and humor, gave us a lecture on that dinner. He kept talking about our lack of sensitivity and awareness during our interview, and that we did not find any special stories to tell in the Laksa stall. (Imagine “One-legged sate seller”!) Many of us were quite petrified, until the moment he told us that he was just making them up. The crowd immediately burst in laughter. Well, before I forget, Niki was an actor as well. He can make up stories which seem realistic and got everyone into it!

Once again, it was all the endless rigmarole of editing activities in the hotel. Everyone was almost plagued with insanity as we raced with time to get our projects done. Fortunately, our articles did not have any major problems, so that we could hand them in on time. Phew! At the same time, our group video was quite beautiful. (That was my opinion, of course)
Last but not least, I thanked God as we were still sane. *sigh of relief*

My Third Day at BRATs
I was both enthusiastic and excited. We were going to the Fishing Village at Kuala Kedah! Breakfast was as usual. At about 9.00 a.m., we headed to our respective destinations. Before the field assignments began, all of us first landed our feet on the paddy field. (Kedah is renowned as the major rice producer in Malaysia) The lush green paddy field was indeed a picturesque. I was awed and captivated by the beauty of the creation of Mother Nature. The tall, swaying coconut trees welcomed us to the quaint field with its draped leaves dancing to the rhythm of the wind.

We were the last team to start our assignment. Our destination was the fishing village in Kampung Cina. The name of the village had suggested that the Chinese populace dominated the place. It looked serene and calm, unlike the hustle and bustle at the city.
There was a strong fishy stench which invaded my nose. Yikes! Nevertheless, I knew that it was a norm in a fishing village. The village appeared to be laid-back and peaceful. We broke into three groups so that our assignments can be done in a quick manner. I went with Jia En, Serena and another girl (Sorry, her name slipped off my mind… Sorry for being careless) There, we obtained information from a shop house which produced and sold salted fish.

Besides from getting the golden chance to see the production of salted fish, we even got some facts on the generation gap between the young and the old, and the problems faced by those in the fishing industry due to price hike.
We had to overcome some clichés due to the lack of questions. In fact, I was not really certain on the questions for the interview due to the lack of knowledge in the field. Somehow, I was lucky to have one of our facilitator, Ian to help.
After the field assignment activity, it was lunch and editorial activities as usual. Before that, we were given remarks on our work by our facilitators. Amazingly, I did not feel as tensed up as yesterday when I typed the article out.
Since that night was our last night at BRATs, we had some group performances, which were held impromptu. My group performed a sketch. Somehow, I did not really understand the content and message in it…!!! It was hilarious, though.

The next group to perform was Team “WHAT?”. They cheered up every participant and facilitators with their Medley-cum-parodies of Bruno Mars’ “The Lazy Song” and Rebecca Black’s “Friday”. In their performance, the lyrics of the original song were changed to match the life in the workshop. Isn’t that creative?

Team HIMYB gave everyone a real entertainment by imitating the facilitators. Marcus’ rendition of Niki really tickled my funny bone!

After all those amusing performances, it was time to get serious and tensed to finish our job in a jiffy. My group managed to finish the assignment so fast that we were lost on anything to do next. Somehow, most of us stayed up late to complete our work.

My Fourth Day at BRATs
Time indeed flies. It was soon the day to bid goodbye to my acquaintances during the workshop. There was only a brief four days for us to build our friendship, yet, on that day, it was the nastiest moment to part!
Here are just some glimpses of my memories in the workshop... (Sorry for not typing the caption!)

 We were talking and chatting to no end on this day. On this day, I had the mixed feelings of being both happy and sad. I was happy as I was one of the 40 lucky applicants to be chosen into this big family, and I got to know many incredible and amazing friends. I reminisced the first day when I arrived: Being in a daze and unexpecting the surprises which were bound to happen. That day, it was the same; that was a wonderful and memorable journey in my life.
To sum it all up, I must say that it was an amazing chapter in my teenage life as I can actually learn much more than journalism from here! I learnt to be grateful of the life I had when I witness the hardship faced by the fishermen. Besides, this activity has helped me to open my eyes to witness the wonders of the world and the tale that lies behind every aspect around us, which seemed to be ordinary. However, will the clock turn back so that I can re-experience this journey again? I bet not.
Anyway, everyone has a tale to tell and share, and you will just have to listen to them in patience, and savour the essence in it. You may gain from it!

My Brat-tastic Experience! (Part 1)

Before Going to BRATs:
It was a typical day in the month of May when my handphone rang to Bruno Mars’ “Just The Way You Are”. I picked it up and here came this message:
“Dear Chosen Star Brats 2011 Participant, you have been selected to join our next coming workshop @ Alor Star from 1/6 to 4/6. Full details of the programme will be email to you in due course…”
I was surprised. What? I was chosen as a BRAT? Before I elaborate further, bear in mind that this BRAT is simply not any hooligan or anyone who is up to no good. In fact, it is the acronym of “Bright Roving Annoying Teens”, which is the name of The Star Young Journalism Workshop. I was uncertain about it at first, until I checked my e-mail and called the number provided.
I never expected even in my wildest dreams that I was chosen. (Seriously, I want to join this activity badly! It is a healthy activity, right?) I sent in an essay with about 800 words about myself in February. I got it, I GOT IT…!!!
Alor Star, wait for me…!!!

My First Day at BRATs
It was an exhausting two-and-half hours drive from my hometown, Taiping to Holiday Villa, Alor Star where the workshop was held. I arrived at 11.25 a.m. and entered the Langkawi 1 Meeting room at around 12.00p.m. When I opened the door of the meeting room, a cold wind blew past me. I was greeted with a chorus of “Hi Sharon…”
That was warm. Thanks guys! =)
We had an activity where the reporters and Senior BRATs introduced themselves. The Senior BRATs were Ben-jie, Amy Lim, Pau Ling and Jason Lioh who was a professional blogger cum photographer as well. The reporters and editors were Niki Cheong, Melody L. Goh, an entertainment (fashion) writer and Ian Yee, the editor for the Football section in R.AGE.
Later, it was the turn for the eager BRATs to introduce themselves. My goodness, I was the only participant from Taiping! Most of them were from Petaling Jaya and Penang. One of us by the name of Serena even flew all the way from Sarawak to Aor Star for this activity. Anyway, the girls dominated the population as there were only seven boys.
Our first activity related to journalism was a test to determine if we can follow instructions. We were supposed to read through ALL the activities listed before we begin any actions. My goodness. I did almost all the activities when another BRAT called me to sit down… That was because the last instruction was “Ignore all the instructions above and sit down.” Many of us did the activities like crazy until some of the seniors were stunned! It was all about how observant and obedient you were.
We had buffet lunch at 12.45 p.m. at the Szechwan Restaurant in the hotel. I actually PIGGED OUT! Well, it was a large scoop of rice with about 3-4 dishes and a wide array of dessert. The food served was oh-so-delicious. My diet plan FAILED… XP
After that, we had many workshops on journalism. We were taught on the basic skills to interview people. Later, we were divided into three groups. My group interviewed Melody L. Goh. I chose to jot down the notes. Poor Melody! She was fired with lots of questions from us. The same went to the other groups as well. They interviewed Niki Cheong and Jason Lioh.
Our interview did not turn out very well. We were taught on the basic skills on interviewing and writing. The writing style used in journalism differed completely from that used in the typical essay writing. We had to form short sentences and include quotes from the interviewee. The language used should not be too bombastic as well.
We had a tea break at around 4.00p.m., where we were served with tea, coffee, doughnuts and curry puffs. It was very comforting as the meeting room was really cold. Some of them almost froze…
Later, there came the photography workshop from Jason Lioh. We were lectured on the basics of photography used in journalism. Well, obviously I had often done a huge mistake by taking photographs with only one hand! According to him, the type of camera did not count: it is the skill that counts. We had our first photo assignment, which was to take ANYTHING in green around the hotel. My pictures were just okay-ish for me.

We were then given our rooms for our stay. I was in the same room with Samantha from Petaling Jaya at the 18th floor. It was spacious and comfortable. The high location of our room gave us the opportunity to have a bird eye’s view of Alor Star. Well, the view of the city at night was really spectacular!
Day view.
night view.

Later, we had dinner at 7.00p.m., in the same restaurant where we had lunch previously. Here is the slide show of it...

After dinner, it was some games before the Editorial activity began. We had a game of “New Friend Found” where everyone danced while singing and they kept twirling to different partners. We were then divided into another three groups of 13 to 14 members. My group was Team X and was led by Amanda Ng from Penang. Among the members in my group were Xing-Yi, Joash, Serena, Angeline, Jasmine, Azureen, Constance, Jia En and Natalie. We had to do two videos and several articles on the making of “dodol” and the fishing village in Kampung Cina, Kuala Kedah. I was assigned the job of taking notes. The other groups were Team HIMYB (How I met your BRAT) and Team WHAT? .
I just cannot wait for the next day to witness the making of “dodol” which was one of my local favorites…

P/S: I will tell you more about the workshop in my next posts, because this post is freakingly long. Stay tuned guys!

Monday, June 6, 2011


This is my Essay last year in an extremely simple language... XD

I look forward to holidays. I believe that most of you look forward to those days as well, after a long period of conscientious studying. By the way, how do you spend your holidays? Do you know the purpose of such a break and relaxation, albeit the rat race in academics which you face in school everyday?
Holidays are precious. As Malaysians, we are fortunate enough to have plenty of holidays, which are virtually almost half a year. Just count them for a week, and almost a month-long holiday at the end of the year. Think of the holidays for festivals and weekends as well. You can imagine such considerable days for breaks for every Malaysian. However, time is gold. We should not take holidays for granted. Holidays should be used for revision and reinforcement on our studies, apart from sports, recreation and suitable entertainment. Try to imagine our lives without holidays. Study, work, study, work… How monotonous our days would be! Our wise ancestors even reminded us that “All work and no play make Jack a dull boy”.
Holidays should be well-used for beneficial purposes. Loitering, hanging out in shopping malls for hours and smoking turtle is strictly a no-no for a high-quality holiday. Yet, it is not sensible to simply do revision the whole day long during the break. It is time to let our hair down during such days.
As adolescents, we might question: how to spend the holidays? Well, first and foremost, consider tidying up your house, or at least your room. It is very sickening to see a room in ultimate mess. The books should be placed in racks and the wardrobe must be neatly arranged. Such an activity is not hard labour at all. In fact, you can grab this opportunity to put in your creative juices to redecorate and reorganize your room. Tidying a room is a form of mild exercise as well. You can relax by tidying up your room and listening to the music at the same time. When your room is finally spick and span while looking cool and attractive, you will have a sense of self-achievement and bliss.
Next, remember that your parents have some skills up their sleeves which you can learn to get yourself ready for an independent lifestyle. Try to help them with some housework, such as cleaning the house, ironing the clothes, and wash the car. At the same time, have fun by acquiring some culinary skills from your parents. Start from cleaning and cutting the ingredients, and preparing them simultaneously with your parents until the food lands into the wok and finally into the plate and served. Voila! Your own dish is made! Of course, if you are interested in carpentry or needlework, you can learn from them. Helping your parents out is filial and can improve family bonds as well. It is an act of killing two birds with one stone.
Apart from that, have some rest by being involved in sports, recreation and hobbies. Remember that “a healthy body makes a healthy mind”. You can spend your vacation by jogging, aerobics, field sports, etc. This is the time for you to let off steam and be active while preparing your health and soul to get ready for future challenges. You can also utilize your holidays by indulging in your hobbies, such as gardening, painting and singing. Once again, you can keep yourself occupied while sharpening your skills as well. You can go creative by creating your own masterpiece from your hobbies, be it a song, a picture, a beautiful landscape or a big birthday cake- these are your accomplishments which can satisfy yourself.
Besides home life, think of a trip with your family and friends. It can be either local or abroad. Nevertheless, it is better to choose a calm and relaxing destination, especially travel hot spots which are based on Mother Nature. Such places can calm your soul and impress yourself on the beauty of the creation of God. Among them are the National Park, Taiping Lakegarden, and Langkawi Island. Yet, one man’s meat is another man’s poison. It is also alright to visit urban areas where you can hunt for desired goods and enjoy a wide array of food, and shop till you drop! You can also visit your relatives during this period to strengthen family bonds.
Some of you might choose to watch television o\r surf the Internet as your holiday pastime. Holiday is the perfect time to do them! For television lovers, consider a documentary or a soap opera without violence, but control the time used in front of the box to avoid from becoming a couch potato. As for internet freaks, holidays are the time for social networking, online gaming, video and music streaming, blogging, information searching, etc. Once again, take hold of the time used or you will get addicted. Remember that staring at those glaring boxes for an excessive period of time can jeopardize your health, especially your eyesight.
Besides having a fun-filled holiday, do not neglect your studies. Time management is important in this aspect. Therefore, spare some time to revision and have some good reads. Holiday is meant for proper reinforcement in your academics, too. Therefore, you should not escape from your studies or you will not be prepared for the upcoming examinations or schooling at all. What a silly waste of time!
In conclusion, holidays should be utilized completely to maximize its benefits. Holidays can be either enjoyable or a disaster-it depends on proper time management and logical conscience. In this way, you will love your holidays even more and be even well-prepared for the future. Have fun!