Category Archives: Sophie’s World

Little thoughts

Nothing gives me more pleasures than planning my holiday. As my workload has eased off this week, I can spend my leisure hours planning my summer trip to Scotland. It is all very exciting as I have long wanted to do some walks at the highlands.I can’t wait for the summer to come. There are so many places that I want to visit in the UK. I will probably get to take my first steam train in the UK. I am over the moon about it as I always like to experience how it was like living back in time. It always seems more romantic in those days when people lived a more idyllic lifestyle and there were less stress and buzz. The pace was slower and people lived a simpler life too. I think the world was a better place in those days although I know that there will be some who disagree. But at least we did not have climate change, terrorists, oil shortage etc. True that healthcare was not as advanced and poverty was more rampant, but I think these are lesser of the evils.

Work life balance

A lot has been said about work life balance in recent years in the UK. It is certainly a very welcoming movement for some. Although a huge supporter myself, I wonder if this is everybody’s cup of tea. Some people simply seem to enjoy work, especially those who are single and find it boring to be home early in the evening only to end up watching tv at night.I did use to enjoy work before I was married. I worked long hours although not totally unreasonable and when there was not much work, I seemed to find my life rather empty and boring. But all has changed. I have since picked up many hobbies and past times that I cherish every minute when I am not working. I still do enjoy work, but only to the extent that it is not bringing too much stress to my life.Life seems so much more complete when you are not putting your life in your career. You have more time to think and reflect upon yourself. In my case, it has certainly been very beneficial. I start to care more about others and my patience improves. When I see some of my colleagues working ridiculously long hours, I wonder if they realise what they are missing out in life. It is not just one day or a week and every minute adds up to any resentment in the future. I like the latin phrase “carpe diem”, seize the day. It keeps me on my toe to live my day to the fullest.

Pride and prejudice

Thus passed the long Easter weekend. It would have been a very fruitless weekend by my usual standards because I have not done much outdoor exercise or any sightseeing at all. However, all was not lost. I spent a good few hours watching the BBC pride and prejudice series and another good few hours reading the book.Before I knew it, it was time to get depressed over the fact that I have to go to work soon. I am not keen on the idea of reading a book twice no matter how much I appreciate it. I had this thinking that if I know the plot, there is not much joy in spending another good few hours reading what you already know. The same goes to films. But I made some exceptions, only very occasionally. It was the second time that I read pride and prejudice although I have been telling everyone how much I love the book. To my amazement, I find that it had been more enjoyable than my first reading. I know the plot and some of the lines, but this time, I was looking out for more subtle things. I didn’t know that I was capable of reading with so much enthusiasm on a second reading. I absolutely adore the story and I am sure most female readers will not contest its likeability. Like most females, I wonder if a real life Mr Darcy exists. I am not a sceptic, but I do think that most men with power, wealth, and good looks are not always the best husbands. Most of the time, they may lack integrity or honesty. In fact, it may even be a universal truth. But I always believe that fairy tales happen in real life but just don’t happen to everyone. For those hopeful females out there, including some of my friends, I hope that they will find their own Mr Darcy but if they don’t, there is no need to be disappointed, because it may only happen to one in a million and you are just part of the majority.

Democracy, is it too late for Malaysians?

It was a defining moment for most Malaysians last weekend. Even though 10,000 miles away, I was equally excited over the General Election and wouldn’t mind confining myself in front of C’s laptop refreshing the website every other minute to check out on the results of the election.I was a little sceptical at first over the outcome of the election. When C said that there will be more votes for the opposition this time round, I dismissed by saying that the ruling coalition will get no less than 65% majority in the Parliament. How wrong was I and for a rare occassion, I don’t mind being wrong. I am so proud of my fellow Malaysians that my eyes were almost filled with tears.The election committee had done everything in their power, whether legal or illegal to ensure that the ruling coalition always gets an upper hand when it comes to the General Election. The constituencies were drawn in such a way that the ruling coalition always get more seats in the Parliament. For a contrast, there are only about 6,000 voters in Putrajaya (which is a fairly newly created constituency ‘for the ruling coalition’) and Seputeh which is an opposition stronghold has a whopping 70,000 voters (estimates). How they draw the lines, I can never discern, but how Malaysians had put up with such blatant abuse of power, was more mysterious.The government had done everything in their power to suppress the media, be it tv, newspapers or radio. We could only hear of any negative news against the government if you know of any insider who had first hand knowledge. I had the opportunity to hear a first hand account from an ISA detainee who, for miraculous reasons, was not broken down having spent two years in ISA detention. I also had the privilege of attending several seminars about human rights abuse in Malaysia.I wished I could have done more for the people. I wished there was something that I could play a part in. But it was difficult not to feel that everything was too late and what could a small number of people did. But this General Election has shown that all is but too late. I would be more than surprised if the opposition had not won more than 50% of the votes of Malaysians in this General Election. If it wasn’t for the unjustifiable division of constituencies that favour the ruling coalition, we might well see a new government in 50 years of independence. This is only real democracy.I hope that the opposition will grab this chance and shine as I don’t know if they would have to wait another 50 years to have the second chance. Although not being able to form the federal government, they have done very well to secure 5 states to form the state governments.Although most people seem to think that the current PM is to take responsibility for the upset in this General Election and the current state of affairs in Malaysia. I still however think that he is a much better PM than Dr M. It is hardly convincing that his son is one of the 50 richest men in Malaysia and some of his cronies are the most successful businessmen in Malaysia with no lack of billionaires amongst them. At the same time, I am still unconvinced that Najib can ever be a PM given the extremely racist remark he made in 1987 during the Lalang Operation. But as we all know, with money comes power when it comes to Malaysian politics. I should only pray that more and more Malaysians will raise their awareness on such fundamental issues and take them to heart. It concerns their very own welfare and their home soil.

A new year

I just came from a three weeks vacation in Malaysia. There is no magic as to why I go to Malaysia, it is my home, or was. I am not sure where I should call home these days but I certainly still have a lot of connections there.It was Chinese New Year earlier this month and we had a great time celebrating with friends and family. However, CNY celebration is not as elaborate as it used to or may be it’s just me getting old and start to see things differently.This year is the year of the rat. For some reasons I have an uneasy feeling about my furtune this year. Call me superstitious but I have a feeling that I will face many obstacles this year and may be difficult decisions will have to be made.I have just been informed at work that I have to move office to another location on the same floor which is right at the heart of a politically charged zone. Now I am not sure whether that is the first omen of my bad fortune year. I hope that I can stay out of trouble acting stupid but polItics is tricky business, one never know quite what to do.The good news is, C and I just managed to procure our first customer for our own part-time business. It is all very exciting. I do hope that the business will take off and we can one day work for ourselves. I shall keep my fingers crossed and pray hard that this will happen sooner rather than later.

More reasons to become vegetarian

I just read one of the most ridiculous comment in the Metro today. One reader questioned how vegetarians can do any good to the environment given that they eat away all the plants! I found myself in utter disbelief on the level of ignorance in such a civilised society.Perhaps not many people know that livestock rearing accounts for approximately 18 percent of the global greenhouse gases! Methane gas is 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide and you need the equivalent of 6kg of plant protein to convert into 1kg of meat protein! However way you look at it, vegetarians can’t be doing more damage to the environment than meat eaters.With the food commodity prices soaring inthe past year because of grain shortage partly due to rising demands of meat in developing countries like China and India, I wonder how much longer human can live like they do now without making compromises. An easy solution would be for more people to become vegetarians and reduce food wastage. There can only be winners from this. More and more dietitians and doctors are advocating eating more fruits and vegetables. Not only does this improve your health, it also alleviates demand for meat and reduce the damageto the environment at the same time slowdown the surge in food prices like grain (that is the main feed to livestock).I don’t understand why so many people are against the idea of becoming a vegetarian. Most seem to find vegetarian food bland and not providing enough nutrients. Contrary to most people’s belief, most vitamins and minerals are best absorbed when ate uncooked from vegetables and fruits. I have never found vegetarian food bland. It’s only a matter of adjusting your palate. Most meat eaters are used to the strong tastes and therefore unable to appreciate more subtle flavours in vege. It only takes a few weeks for your palate to readjust and vegetarian food can be very tasty too! In fact, C used to have acnes all the time right until he stopped eating meat. He still have the odd acne every now and then but nothing as serious as before. He has not made any changes to his lifestyle or skincare regime at all (note that he never use skincare products) and he cannot relate it to any other reason other than his change in diet. I hope everyone will give vegetarianism a chance and give yourself a chance to live a healthier life. You can always have that odd treat of meat if you wish, it’s not as though you have crossed the Rubicon.

My tennis hero

For the first time since 2005, Roger Federer has failed to reach the final in a grand slam. I had a feeling that he might not anyway, he has not been in his supreme form throughout the Australian Open.I have always wondered how he kept himself motivated having won so many grand slam titles. Being the best must be so lonely and more so when you have been the best for the past three years. May be this is a good break for him to give himself some motivation to do better next time. But it is of course a little disappointing for the fans because everyone expects to see him win the title. Personally, I am not too bothered. I still think he is the best player out there and he is only 26, he has many years to come to stay in the game. No matter what happens from now on, he will always be remembered as one of the best tennis player ever, and perhaps the most deserved winner.

The ideal job

If you are a working wife, is finding the right job just as important as finding the right husband? I have spent the past four years working for four different companies none of which I truly liked. Yet, here I am still struggling on. I know that I never really like working soon after I graduated from university. I prefer engaging myself in intellectual conversations or sometime in not so intellectual activities. I like to have freedom to do what I want at any point in time without having to account for my actions.May be this is to do with my discipline. But I never really had any disciplinary problems in my life. In fact so much so that I wished I had more fun. May be this is really about not finding the right job. A lot of other factors can affect how you like your job, like your immediate boss, your co-workers, your salary and benefits etc etc. Which makes me wonder whether there is ever anyone who likes what they do disregarding all the above factors. But with a plethora of choices available, some people like myself have become more and more picky that we may never find any employment that we will enjoy.

The virtual world

Do you live your life in the virtual world? I was just discussing with my colleagues about facebook and the likes during our Christmas lunch today. Many people seem to spend a majority of their time living in the virtual world these days. In a way, it is a total revolution as to how people communicate. It takes the pressures off from having to talk to someone face to face or any form of instantaneous communication. However, the drawbacks are that it is so comfortable to hide behind the veil that it has reached a state of beyond control. You can virtually have two lives and one of which you can have absolute freedom as to how you want it to be without any boundaries or moral responsibilities to abide by.If it is merely a form of occasional past time, it may not affect a person’s health. But if you are so hooked up that you spend all your free time living in the virtual world, then it is a worrying sign.I still think that nothing should replace the occasional socials with friends and families to share your joys and sorrows. After all, humans need to live in a real community, not through a machine.