May 2014


I am not a big fan of strawberries because I have low tolerance for sour fruits. Oftentimes I would just observe how Iris enjoys them while trying to imagine NOT having that sour taste in my mouth. My office mate, Tony, commented that strawberries nowadays are not how they used to be. Modern day strawberries tend to be larger as that is how the market wants them, but not necessarily sweeter than the heritage breeds. From then onwards, I try to look for smaller strawberries, maybe visibly less attractive, but I hope with greater sweetness in them.  Found the smaller variety once at Queen Victoria Market but the taste was disappointing. So I stopped searching for ‘sweet’ strawberries.

This evening I went to Coles with Iris. The trip was initially for a hair cut at the salon nearby but the hairdresser was pretty occupied. I have to go back tomorrow morning.Anyway, we stepped into Coles to get some veggies and Iris asked for the strawberries. Funny how a shortie like her can spot something so high up. Got a box for her brain food for school tomorrow. As usual, she wanted a taste of them and out of curiosity, I tasted one. Oh, I couldn’t believe my tastebuds! It was sweet, perhaps the sweetest that I have ever tasted! It was yum!! Here’s some images of the yummy strawberries, just in case you want to have a go at them too. Image 

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Hi! This morning I went to Queen Victoria Market to get these souvenirs for my respondents. Got about 200+ of them and six fridge magnets for my sister in law.  The key chains cost $10 for 5 packets, and I bought 35 packets in total.  I was contemplating between the clipping koalas/kangaroo but I reckon these key holders are more practical. 😉  In my humble opinion, the clipping koalas or kangaroos are getting too common in Malaysia nowadays.  I want to give my respondents something special, something that is rather ‘uncommon’ for the time they spent to participate in my study.

Some people argue that giving tokens are akin to ‘bribing’ respondents into participating into your research.  What say you? I believe it is a token for their time and for their contribution, period.  And you might think – whaaaaaaaat, only a key chain?  Well, it is a one and a half page survey, mostly close ended question and may take at most 10 minutes to complete.  And it is all they way from OZ, okay! (Oooohhh, I just hope that they will not be taken by the “Made in China” label somewhere on the key chain…).  Emo lah pulak aku nih, mcm orang menjengah kat blog nie pun. Hehehe. 

Oh, changed my mind about putting them in a padded bag. Although the bag is tough and able to hold the weight of the items, the nice lady at the post shop advised otherwise. Imagine, she said, a 20kg parcel is stacked on top of your parcel and we don’t provide fragile services…  With that caution, I decided to transfer them into a box which, according to the lady, is more reliable for the kind of consignment that I had in it. Anyway, the souvenirs are on their way to Kuching now and should be there between 3-5 days’ time.

With that out of my hand, Afyq, anjang is counting on you now! 

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Last Sunday, we went to Federation Square to visit our feathered friends.  A week before, we went there with my cousin, Cheryl who was on a 10-days trip in Melbourne.  Iris had a great time then, and she sacrificed two yummy croissants to the birds. Sensing that the experience was not adequate, we made a pack to go there again, just the two of us.  Daddy didn’t go cycling that day, and he didn’t come as well as he had a split headache. Poor daddy!

We took a train from Oak Park train station and stopped to purchase a loaf of bread at Coles, Melbourne Central. Although a dear friend suggested to purchase the bread at Coles adjacent to Flinders Street Station (which is just across Federation Square), we purposely hopped off the train at Melbourne Central as I thought Iris would appreciate a tram ride from Melbourne Central to Federation Square.  Well, the tram didn’t arrive, apparently due to some sort of disruptions.  We waited for about 10 minutes when I saw on the display that almost every tram line that runs along Swanston Street was interrupted that day.  So we walked…..  And that girl is a good walker, as steady as a horse, though occasional complaints came from her about the distance and more questions asking ‘are we there yet?’  Mama responded, ‘just in front, do you the traffic light? After the traffic light, ok?’  Twice.  Later that day, she said to me, ‘lucky I wore my NB shoes, mom. They are good for walking!’  Couldn’t agree more, pumpkin, couldn’t agree more! 

As we approached Federation Square, I got the reason for the tram service disruptions.  There was a rally taking place at Federation Square; the center of the square was packed with people protesting the budget cut imposed by the current government and in fact, it was organized all over Australia involving about 10,000 protesters. Well, what was I thinking when I saw the crowd?  At first I hesitated as I fear that people can be violent during rallies.  Alcohol and rallies do not mix well, and yes, I assumed that people may get drunk in such events.  I was proven wrong when it was indeed a peaceful protest.  The event was attended by families and many brought young children with them.  The police were everywhere and they were observing, and not to extent to obstruct the rally.  By the time I decided to proceed to the Yarra riverbank, Iris announced that she lost her Myki card.  Alamak.… Well, it is another story to tell.  Here’s some images from the rally.

The rally taking place on Sunday, 18 May 2014 at Federation Square, Melbourne, to protest the budget cut made by the Abbot government

The rally taking place on Sunday, 18 May 2014 at Federation Square, Melbourne, to protest the budget cut made by the Abbot government

Despite the ‘challenges’ to get to the venue, we had a great time seeing the different kinds of birds.  What I really like about the place is that it is clean and we don’t have to fear about stepping onto birds’ poo.  One loaf of bread was too much for us so we offered some to a nice lady who was equally attracted to the spectator.  She reciprocated with two pieces of chewing gums.  It was a good trade, and it feels good to share with others, though they are strangers.  The images below concludes our ‘meeting’ for the day. See the black swans? They are the alpha-birds; a honk from them scare the other birds away but they are nice and gentle with us.  At first I was weary of the ‘overwhelming’ responses from the birds.  In fact, they could be aggressive to each other but not to homo-sapiens that offer food to them.  The couple of lovey-dovey swans are sweet, eh? Oh ya, before the snapshot, they chased away one swan (probably male) who was tagging them. Ini kes tiang lampu kot…

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Until the next entry, sayonara minna san! 

Occasionally I will cycle to Oak Park train station. It is located 1.2 km from our home and cycling there takes about 5 minutes. To be honest, I cycle because I feel the need to exercise knowing that my lifestyle has been very passive since I had that pumpkin.  Even then, I dread cycling to the station because the first bike we is a mountain bike purchased from a friend for $30.  It is rather heavy and not really suitable for riding on the road due to greater friction attributed to the wider tyres. More friction means more power to pedal and more power implies lagi cepat semput lah Lina oiii….

Anyway, it all changes when hubby picked up this road bike (as shown in the pictures below) during spring cleaning this year. It was roughly in April because people in our suburb are ‘allowed’ to start chucking out unwanted household items in April, according to a schedule determined by Moreland City Council.  This wonderful bike was disposed at the kerb near the entrance of our unit.  In fact, we used to see it tied under a car parking shade of a unit in front of ours.  Hence, when hubby saw it outside, he immediately recognized the bike and brought it home.  True enough as the saying goes, “one man’s trash is another’s treasure”.

It is my treasure now because I ride it frequently to Oak Park train station.  I love it because it is designed for riding on the road – with slimmer wheels and faster to ride.  It has a Moreland City Council sticker on it.  Based on my tiny research of the bike’s history, it was given out for free in 2008 under the “O’hea Biketown Project”, a flagship program to combat climate change at the grass root level.  

As soon as we got the bike, we fixed the wheels and I changed the seat to the ‘fatter’ type.  This new seat is gel padded for extra comfort.  Then, we invested in a better bike lock, as well as a set of LED bike light and reflector.

Riding a bike to the station means less waiting time for public transport (meaning, I could get home early), I rarely need to rely on hubby to send or pick me up from the train station (save on the car petrol) and perhaps a fitter me.  I feel less exhausted now compared to when I started to ride to the station. I feel healthier as I breath the fresh morning air and riding the bike gives me a sense of freedom… Wow, that’s deep! Anyway, I have a big plan for this bicycle. We have decided to bring it back to Kuching.

Cycling is a delightful family activity.  We normally cycle around the block and someday we might cycle down to Merlynston train station for the bike track that connects to Coburg Park. We even talked about cycling to the video rental store, but we have yet to fulfill that – though it is certainly more manageable than cycling down to Merlynston station….  She is one strong girl, loves outdoor activities and always eager to go on the bike.  We’ll make this happen okay, Iris?  Insya Allah. And for now, let’s be happy to travel on two wheels to places nearby, shall we?

Yes? Good girl.  

Cycling is a delightful mother-daughter activity.

Cycling is a delightful mother-daughter activity.

Hello again everyone!  It’s been slightly over a year since my last post and it is a shame that those reminders for update I purposely placed in several entries were ignored by the very person who inserted them at the first place. Haiya!

To cut the long story short and to avoid the increasing incidence of broken promises, let’s just go straight to the topic, shall we?  Good, let’s proceed with the entry then…

Last Sunday (May 11th, 2014), the long anticipated VMPGA Family Day 2014 finally took place.  After so much efforts being put in and perhaps 1000 messages on Whatsapp, the team finally saw it through and I am proud to say that it was pretty good.  Honest!  The event went as scheduled, the formalities was kept to the minimum and most importantly the kids and parents had tonnes of fun.  I personally appreciate the event because it gave me opportunities to catch up with other friends.  Indeed, it has been a long time since we had such gathering and credits should be extended to the committee and this year’s host, South Eastern Family Community (SEFC)  for securing a great venue for the event (despite the many hiccups they had to endure) and we are extremely proud with the amount of commitment showered by participating kampungs. They are but not limited to Kampung Victoria North Melbourne (KVNM), Desa Bundoora (DB), SEFC and the Malaysian community in Geelong.

This year, we had to keep the event short as the hall was booked for 5 hours. The beautiful venue is owned by the Bosnian community, equipped with a moderate sized hall complete with cooking area and washrooms. The hall itself is adjacent to a large football field and has a partially covered area at one side which is superb for barbecue.  It has ample parking space, which worked beautifully to cater our needs for the event. I reckon about 40 – 50 families have turned up for the event and none of them were deprived of parking spots. All in all, I give 8 out of 10 stars for the venue.  🙂

Anyway, moving on to the program itself.  The real star of the day were the kids as they had too much fun playing!  During the opening ceremony, they get to participate in a coloring contest and all participants received their share of prizes for the contest, including Iris.  The telematch games were mostly catered for the children’s interest while parents had one game each for mom and dad.  The organizer came up with interesting names for the games that none of us could guess how they were played: Vodafone, Tangan Emas, Kaki Emas and Saya Sayang Papa dan Mama. Who would guess that Vodafone involves 6 children passing water balloons, or Kaki Emas required fathers to become sepak raga stars?  And shouldn’t Tangan Emas be Mulut Emas as moms were put on the spot to say the name of vegetables lah, fish lah, car lah, states in Australia lah and other tasks that required us ladies to use our brain power! Hahahahaha.  With that sorted, I have to say Aman did a great job as the MC of the day. I reckon the smooth running and great timing of the events was attributed to his efficiency and the participants’ quick responses to the needs of the different games.

The celebrated heroes of the day - them kids!

The stars of the day – them kids!

I didn’t stay until the end as I promised to meet up with a cousin who had just arrived from Kuala Lumpur.  Iris and I took a ride in Dr Rahaman’s car to Chadstone Shopping Mall (it is huge!!) and from there we caught a bus to ferry us to Holmesglen train station.  Holmesglen station is about 30 minutes from Flinders Street station and boy, we ran like mad to catch the train! Iris enjoyed it and I kinda liked it too.  Well, you don’t get to run like mad to catch the train with your 6 year old daughter every day, right?

The photo collage that accompany this entry is my FIRST collage using an app called ‘Photo Collage’ recommended by Nadiah. With collages, I can still upload the amount of images that I want to share, without having to stretch my data plan should I upload them individually.  See, you learn new things every day. 🙂  Until the next entry, have a a great day ahead!