A Year Of Milestones

This year:

... Malaysia has been experiencing terrible haze, probably one of the worst in history.
... the government implemented GST.
... MYR is losing its battles.
... Malaysians are paying more for tolls thanks to the recent toll hike.
... the spike in the number of dengue cases in Malaysia is the highest in history.
... we saw rabies cases giving us a scare.
... we saw a typhoid outbreak.

Okay the list of bad news can go on and on, but really chances are things are going to get a lot worse as we near the end...

But personally, this year has been a significant year for myself. As we're nearing the end of the year, I took some time to reflect back on what happened in the last 12 months. Some highlights I can remember while I'm typing this down:

1. University life is over. So while I was bumming around and doing internship (post-uni), some of my friends were still attending classes and I felt a little left out in the WhatsApp chats. Hah. 4 years just flew by and though there's no campus life (thanks to the lack of campus environment), I enjoyed the time spent learning, chattering away and picking some skills here and there.

2. Transitioning from uni to work is... how should I put this? I can't think of a suitable word from my vocab right now but it has been interesting. I did a lot more networking this year, and though I dread it, I try. I'm also happy that I'm finally going to settle for a full time work in Jan.

3. For the 2-3 years, reflection posts used to include what are the main things that I've won this year. This year I didn't win anything significant that I'm utterly proud this year of but I'm happy I won the battle against time and expectations. Against all odds, I've finished my bachelor's degree on a high note and I was one of the first from my batch to finish.

4. I met more people, made a few friends and acquaintance and lost a few too. Well, not really lost but you know when relationships are estranged, you feel it. The 15-year-old me and the me typing this now are the same. I still feel bad when relationships fall apart and I wonder, how did it all happen. How did we arrive to that point when you feel like you've met a stranger when actually you've known the same person for almost more than 15 years, a friend that you grew up together.

5. This blog has surpassed 500k views, after blogging for about 8 years. I'm really proud because it's a personal feat and it's one of the few things that I've been consistently doing over the last decade. I really doubt anyone is really following the blog, just mainly getting hits from SEO. But I've actually removed a lot of posts from public, and views are slowing down but I don't really care. In the past I've made a lot of stupid posts and while I'm not ashamed of them (it's part of growing up), it's just that I value some privacy now.

6. This year, I walked with thousands and thousands of Malaysians in Kuala Lumpur, and other parts of the world calling for better and cleaner government. Malaysia's political turmoil and economic situation is worrying but we pick ourselves up and everyday, we fight for a better Malaysia because that is how much we love this country.

7. This year, I went to Singapore for the first time in my life. I love Malaysia better.

8. I attended a makan + chit chat session with the top political leaders from Parti Amanah Negara and met a few others from DAP too, including Tony Pua and Rajiv Rishyakaran.

9. 2015 has made me see drastic changes of the people around me. There's a lot to think about and digest. It's been a challenging year when often times people and circumstances around have made me question my beliefs. Disappointments crept in to cast doubts over my own judgments. Yet, although it's difficult to see what's beyond the terrible and annoying situations which are beyond my own control, perhaps it's very well that I finally see the hidden side of people and start to embrace and appreciate what's real.

10. Some things in 2015 ended in a sombre mood and there the feeling of regret still lingers while I write this down. I wish I done this. I wished I said it better. I wished I took the chance. But more than anything, I look forward to 2016, to new beginnings. The hardest thing is to find peace with yourself and I resolve in my heart that certain things happens, and those things are just beyond my control. I pray that as I continue to journey this life, I continue to learn to be at rest and trust in the amazing Father I have.

Review: Cow Sense for Young People by Lydia Teh

I buy dozens of books every year but I'm guilty because I probably only read half of them most of the time. Although I love reading, I've never written a book review. So here's my first attempt, and this is for Lydia Teh's latest book, 'Cow Sense for Young People'.

Image source: MPHOnline.com

'Cow Sense for Young People' is the author's 9th book, a compilation of articles first published in The Sun. The book is structured in a series of frequently asked questions (FAQ) format. 

Frankly, I personally feel that humor is always a hit and miss thing but one thing's for sure, Lydia Teh is one witty writer. The book is perfect for light reading, and the style of writing (plus the usage of Manglish) makes this book not just relatable but also enjoyable and easy to read. Though it is difficult for me to say that it's the kind of book that I will pack inside a bag and bring with for an adventure, I do see myself picking up the book and re-reading it over and over again for leisure.

On surface, people may quickly dismiss it as a book under the 'Funny' genre, but really it's a self-development book that offers nuggets of wisdom and plenty useful advice for youngsters. I can foresee that some may not completely agree with the author on certain points, but I believe they are great food for thought.

On another note, I am pleased to find lots of reference to pop icons such as Adele, Simon Cowell and even Youtube personality, Ryan Higa. These names should resonate with the ordinary youth and young adult. 

Perhaps I'm nitpicking but I think it's crucial to mention the following since the book is targeted at young people (though it's also obvious that adults may also enjoy this book). There's a reference in the book to Finding Nemo's Dory but the name was referenced as 'Dora'. So yes, the popular fish is Dory, not Dora (The Explorer). I do think that young people would have spotted this mistake since Finding Nemo is extremely popular - one of the highest grossing animated film of all time and is the best selling DVD of all time. And personal pet peeve, Nicol David was spelled as Nicole David.

Favourite line from the book: Once you’ve decided that happiness is a choice, it is easier to align your attitude to make happiness a reality.

In essence, 'Cow Sense for Young People' appears to be a book of answers to questions that I may not have even thought about before, and it's a great read. There's nothing really controversial except perhaps (it's arguable) that the author often offers a conventional worldview of things which the modern youth may cease to agree. 

Finally, sit back and relax as you read on as Lydia Teh is going to give you an entertaining look at the world of young people who wonders about the practicalities of life.

Food: BWB Flaming On Table, Desa Sri Hartamas

If you fancy watching someone cook in front of you, perhaps you'll be intrigued with how BWB Flaming On Table (formerly known as BWB Yakitori) serves its signature dishes.

For the signature flaming series dishes, be prepared to whip out your camera and spam your shutter to take the nicest picture as the staff 'set your dish on fire'. Be quick as this will only last for seconds. Then, smirk at your beautiful picture you've captured and post on Instagram or Facebook. Anyway, that's exactly what I did:

There's a few dish available for the flaming series, here's some of it:

1. Ocean On Fire - Ocean trout, scallop and prawn

2. Angry bird - chicken drumstick

3. Oink-oink on burning - Sakura pork rib

As you can see, the flaming series dishes looks really nice. Besides the great food presentation, they also taste really good. Also I have to mention this: all their poached eggs are on point!

Aside from the signature dishes, BWB F.O.T. has a wide range of dishes from wagyu beef all the way to the humble traditional spaghetti.

Fragyu - pan fried wagyu top with foie gras. The wagyu is not of the best cut but it's still good - after all it's a wagyu beef meat we are talking about!

Salmon Carpaccio - raw ocean trout served with carpaccio sauce and salad. I really love this. Salmon was really fresh and the carpaccio sauce complements the salmon.

Truffle butter toast - mini french toast served with truffles butter and caviar topping. One of the favourite dish from the night. Simple and perfect combination.

More food:

Cup noodle - pan fried bacon chips, dry chilli, aglio and thyme. It was alright for me. A little dry for my liking.

Grilled squid.

Salted shrimp - fried shrimp with assorted chilli spices. Most people were commenting that it was a little too salty for them.

Seafood Pasta - prawn, mussel, trout and scallop served with tomato sauce and herbs. Can't go wrong with this.

Chicken bun chicken pulled with cucumber, cabbage, onion ring. Nothing too spectacular about this.

Beef Macaroni - home cook beef brisket served with egg and green peas. Love the beef brisket, they were tender.

Chicken drumstick from Angry Bird (Flaming On Table flaming dish series).

Petai Toast - toast served with sambal petai and egg. I personally feel that the sambal petai is actually underwhelming so I'm guessing those who don't take petai may actually consider having this.

Bolognese Toast - toast served with minced pork and egg. Again, this is one of those dish that isn't there to impress but my, look at that egg!

Piggy Burger - sakura mince meat, oat, onion served with sunny bun. Felt that the patty was just OK - bordering a little too dry for my liking.

Even more food (I didn't manage to try the food from this point onwards):

Piccante Mussels - mussels in spicy tomato sauce.

Ebi Niniku (shrimp), Bacon Cheese Asparagus, and Sazae Niniku (escargot).

Calamari salsa  - fried baby baby calamari with salsa sauce.

Sizzling seafood - prawn, salmon, squid, oyster and mussel with sizzling spicy sauce.

Secco Seppia - grill marinated sun fried pulled cuttlefish.

Yellow Bomb - lobster salad with caviar cucumber and mango.

Traditional Spaghetti - tomato, minced pork, carrot, onion and herb.

Beef roll- slice beef wrapped with golden mushrooms.

Clockwise from top: seasalt, truffle bacon, matcha green tea, passion fruit and XO cherry (middle). Fancy flavours. Although I didn't get to try them, everyone who did were praising how good the ice creams were and I could tell that all of them wanted more.

So, there. BWB F.O.T. really has an extensive menu boasting about 100 different dishes (at the point of visit) so really everyone can find something they love to eat here. As this was a tasting event, I didn't get to try all the food in this post (as mentioned).

Also, I forgot to take a picture (oh no!) but I need to mention this: BWB served lemongrass drinks and I absolutely love it and it was such a refreshing drink.

Based on my personal observation, the restaurant was understaffed and the kitchen area was quite slow in dishing out orders. However for a pub-restaurant, I was really impressed with the wide selection of food on the menu.

Price wise, keeping in mind that the location is in Desa Sri Hartamas (popularly known as a more 'atas' area) I feel divided about the value as some dish are reasonably priced while others are slightly more than what I would pay for. That being said, BWB does offer a brunch menu which offers some really deal.

As usual, parking could be a problem at Desa Sri Hartamas but there's an open air carpark right outside BWB F.O.T. but of course it comes with a (high) price. Even on a weekend, the carpark was relatively empty, so I figure many of us don't really want to pay but for convenience and rather than going rounds finding for a spot, the money you pay may be just worth it.

Food: 6/10 (Try the signature flaming series dishes)
Service: 5/10
Value: 6/10
Atmosphere: 5/10 (Place is quite noisy but it's quite normal for a pub setting)

BWB Flaming On Table
8, Jalan 27/70A,
Desa Sri Hartamas,
Kuala Lumpur.
FB: BWB Flaming On Table