Friday, November 28, 2008

Tales in Yangon

(I post this especially for you, Iman!)

Well, it has been a week since I got back from Yangon, visiting Carigali for the Risk Assessment. Here we go, some pics that I have taken and some stories to tell while I was there. More pics in Facebook, definitely.

This is how Yangon city looks like from my room. Simple township I would say. No skyscraper.

I stayed in Traders, which was really near to the market where I did most of my shopping. You can get halal food here, and there are Malaysian chefs working here. Even nasi lemak is served! So I didn't really feel that longing for Malaysian food, hehe. The staff were really accomodating. But if you happen to have a trip to Myanmar and sleep in hotels, be ready with huge notes of USD since they only accept that currency for payment.

I just took this photo to appreciate the Burmese efforts to advertise their products on billboards, haha. You will see most of the billboards in Yangon to be advertising local-produced food. Apart from being a nation of closed-door policy, which does not really welcome imported goods, I sincerely think this is a good effort to cultivate the entrepreneurship within the local community.

Two significant things you can see in this picture. Firstly, the pagoda. Though there are so many pagodas around Yangon, but I think each pagoda has its uniqueness, which I can't tell cuz I don't really know what it is. Secondly, the cars. No new BMWs nor Mercs, very few cars of the 90s even. Why? Because those cars are too damn expensive in Myanmar! You will mainly see cars of the early 80s like Toyota Corolla or Datsun Sunny crowding the streets of Yangon. Even though they are old cars, but each can cost you up to USD$15k ok! Seriously car prices here are bloodsucking. House prices too, are the same. An old apartment (as in the upper levels of shophouses) can easily cost you USD$100k. Info obtained from local Carigali driver.

Well well well. This is a view of a cloth outlet inside the Pojok Market. Some call it the Scot Market. I'm not so sure how to spell it correctly. Here you can buy lotsa things. Precious stones like jade and ruby, various types of Vietnamese-like cloths, t-shirts, ornaments, kain pelikat (or longyi - as in 'long-ji'- as they call it here) and other souvenirs locally made. But one thing for sure, you can't show that you have lotsa money to shop here, or else the beggars will be crowding you. And they even accept RM notes for that matter.

This amoi was so happy that I bought a few pieces of cloth from her shop. Believe me, after I bought one cloth, she still held my hand tightly asking me to buy some more. I was sweating, thinking of how to let loose from her, haha, as I didn't want to spend my money entirely on buying cloth only. So, I came with the idea to take a pic as to end the bargain, and I moved on to other shops.

A photo with the helpful Carigali receptionist. I must say the staffs here, including the Malaysians, were very hospitable. It felt like home going to the office, and the receptionist was really helpful in helping us to change our currency notes from USD to kyats. USD$1 = 1250 kyats, if you're fortunate to get that rate.

Here I was, standing in front of Carigali bungalow. It looked a little bit aged, but the interior is superb, especially the wooden carvings along the staircase. Oh, yeah, the toilets are clean too. In fact, too clean that even KLCC and Dayabumi is not a comparison. How cool is that!

The only place besides the Pojok Market that we visited: the Yangon Zoo. Here I was pictured with Tin Zaw Myint, Carigali offshore technician who was so kind to bring Alina and I around the town. Notice him wearing the longyi to the zoo. In fact, this kind of attire is called the executive/ formal attire in Myanmar. And some of the longyi sold here are made of silk, to add to the aesthetics. The awesome thing about Burmese guys wearing longyi is that, no matter how they run or walk or sit, the longyi seem to be firmly tied without the men having to tie over and over again. Unlike Malaysian guys who wear kalin pelikat eh, haha.

Last night in Yangon, Carigali Myanmar was really kind to organize a farewell dinner at MiCasa Hotel. There were like 5 teams from Carigali KL, PMO, SBO, SKO and GTS KL visiting Yangon that week, and it was really good to have them around.

After the dinner. Alina was trying to take my photo when these kids suddenly came out of nowhere to take a pic with me. Pity them, they were still begging at this time of night (about 9.30 pm local time, 11.00 pm Malaysia time) Since kyats is so much smaller compared to USD, giving donation here is not an issue for us (berlagak orang kaya la kunun..)

I was about to leave the airport. This is the newly-built Yangon International Airport. From what I was informed, it was built by the Singapore contractors, in which you can tell the taste by looking at the design. It is a pretty airport, but not as big as KLIA. Things here are only sold in USD. I didn't manage to finish my kyat notes. Perhaps I will be back in Yangon to finish all those notes, haha. Guess who did I meet at the airport? The Malaysian football team who lost to Myanmar 4-1 the previous night. Seeing me a Malaysian, they said hello. Thank God I didn't slip my tongue and claim "Eh, you guys lost the game kan?" haha. Tak2, I'm not that bad.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Yoga? No thanks.

Well well, now Majlis Fatwa is in the heat again. Yoga is bannned, and as usual, some defiant groups are forever ready with their missiles and bombardings to prove that the newly announced fatwa is not being given full thought.

It's normal to have people opposing to ideas and new things, what more if it is going to be implemented as an enforcement.

Well yeah, some may say "Hey, I have been practising yoga for years, it has not affected my faith in my religion!"

And I will say "Good for you then :)"

As much as people are sensitive about sexism, racism, languages, and of course religions for that matter, but I notice that many Muslims here are the ones who are defiant or wish to appear ignorant of their own religious rulings. Why? Just to appear cool? To look universal? To reflect open-mindedness? I'm not sure. Well, to me, ignorance is never bliss.

Hm, since the parties who opposed the ban of yoga are the ones who usually oppose what is being said by Majlis Fatwa, I suppose they just love to oppose. So I guess the opposing parties can do no harm. Just that they can't keep their mouth shut when it comes to opposing. Mungkin ada excitement atau adrenaline rush dalam hobi membangkang ini.

On my part, I always thought it's a common sense to know that yoga IS some sort of a devotion way of another religion, which is why I have never wanted to practise it, though many said that it brings goodness to one's being. So I guess I just should go on with my skipping routine then.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

From observation: Lesson #1

If you are 25, a degree holder and hold a career as a professional, and you are not knowledgeable about even the simplest general knowledge (like 'Who is the current DPM?' It's not even 'Who sat in the position of the United States Secretary of State before Condoleezza Rice?') even a school-goer knows, it is definitely NOT COOL.

Do not exaggerate on your ignorance. It is obviously not something to boast about.

People may not think your mind is too occupied on something else; people would just think you're dumb. Even a pretty face won't be able to cover it.

So don't show your dumbness just to appear cool. It won't work. Especially with me. It won't elevate my impression on you.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Perfection in difference

Okay. Great, I have just enough time to write something tonight.

You know, when I am alone, I think about a lot of things. Not necessarily those things have close relation to myself. Mostly it's about the things that I observe right from the start of the day until the time I call it a day.

From standing next to a guy wearing a Cartier watch in the LRT, to passing by the usual beggar sitting at the end of the staircase of Pasar Seni station, I observe the vast differences. Not only the difference of the environment of Dayabumi area compared to that of KLCC, but also the people: the races, nationalities, attires, way of life, etc.

Sometimes, I have this kind of perception towards people around me having observing them. Either good or bad or neither, it depends. But then, normally, when we observe things, we tend to forget to observe one thing equally, perhaps more importantly than the rest of the things we can see and evaluate in our sight. Yes, it's ourselves.

Most of the time, I perceive nothing is wrong with me. Nothing is wrong as in I watch what I eat, I manage my cashflow, I do brisk walking everyday (as a reason to stay away from the gym!), make sure that I am on time for work, keep my face away from pimples and blackheads, keep in close touch with my good friends and my other half, less of fooling around, do beneficial things for myself.. and the list goes on.. completely normal.

But at times, I try to observe myself from the eyes of other people. As in, If I were a guy, would I date a girl like myself? Or, i I was another girl, what would I (as in that another girl) think of (the present) me? Or, at times when I actually am fidgeting, and I try to cover it, and when I thought I could manage it, can people still see that I am fidgeting?

Someone will probably reply me "Ah, why should you care about what others think of you.. People will love you only when you love yourself first.." Hmm.. is it true? Most of the time, I face the pain of hating people who love themselves too much they forgot to think of other people around them.

But, has any of us realize, sometimes we hate others because they do things different from our paradigm or mindset..? The fact that it is hard to accept others' difference of paradigms, purpose and principles. Each of us may want to prove who is the best by competing, showing off, debating, etc. in which none of us wants to lose in any of those, because when we lose, that indicates that we have become a minority.

Of course, humans are not perfect. But we only say that because we can never find two humans physically, mentally and emotionally alike to each other. Yes, I am not perfect if I were to use the definition of 'perfect' of another person, and yes, I am not perfect at all if I were to see myself from an enemy's eyesight. But, from my point of view, I am living my life the way I want it to be, with the companies I love and by doing the things I wanna do. Just perfect for me.

I just think if we are ready to accept the differences others have, then it would be a perfect condition for us to clear our minds. We can find that perfection within the assimilation of differences in each person we meet.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

How macho are you?

I thought that I could break the record of posting more than 4 posts per month in October.. gawd I was wrong!

I was away for the whole last week. The only fact that I hate when traveling is that it is hard for me to get connected to the Internet. I paid nearly RM 60 just to get myself connected for less than 30 minutes. That was at Hyatt Kuantan. So expensive.

After this, you guys should really understand why I call myself macho, hehe. Well, this is what I did today:

Visiting Energy Commission building site in Putrajaya

.. alongside my GTS senior engineer and her former boss. Sorry the pics are not that pretty since my phone cam is only VGA.

The view of Palace of Justice from the site rooftop

The fragile staircase that brought us to the roof. It was shaking when we were climbing upstairs. Never imagined I could get myself stepping on it. One thing I know for sure, heights don't shiver me anymore (habis la lepas ni abah suruh panjat tangga bersihkan drainage kat atap)

Hey look! I'm stepping on structural steel! (yang mana dahulunya saya sangat scared kerana risau kaki berdarah terpijak besi, he he he..) The white tubes are cooling tubes, to chill the soon-to-be-built concrete slabs for the ceilings and floors ( first time la nak pakai kasut flat macam ni. Kalau tak pergi site visit, jangan mimpi la nak beli..)

This is a close-up view on how the cooling tubes are mounted on the structural steel. Cooling tubes are an alternative to using air conditioners as coolers for this particular building.

This lady is one of a kind! Aneeta, or Kak Ita as I call her, a mother of four, and yet she still can brave all the heights inside the plants and this building site, just to increase her understanding. She took me to 4 GDC plants in two days, and she made me climbed one of the cooling towers inside GDC plant in Putrajaya. She's truly my GTS Idol! Seriously, it feels great to know a macho engineer-cum-mother.

Hm, I do have a topic to talk about. I am waiting for THE enlightenment to come.. soon!