Thursday, June 18, 2009

A Semester Break Read


I spent the last couple of days reading Barbara Walters’ memoir, Audition – a 400-page thick book about this respected journalist whom I greatly admired. Released in June last year, I found her self-written memoir a very good read, a rare adjective for memoir/autobiographies which could be dreadfully boring most of the time. Though her memoir lacked of fancy words and redundancy in story-telling, it was a very entertaining and inspiring read and as if listening her talking to an old friend and she had no trouble name-dropping those involved in the matter she talked.

I didn’t grow up watching Barbara Walters on her ‘Today’ show on NBC while she was still in the network prior 1974. I knew her from her talk show ‘The View’ and I had an opportunity to read an excerpt from her memoir sometime last year in Vanity Fair (the one with Bobby Kennedy’s picture on the cover) and instantly I got a gripped on it.

What really made me connected to her story was about being seen as this perfect, no problem figure by people around when actually they know nothing about you. It was like standing in a glass box, as she recalled, and all they could see was the superficial side. “You could scream at the top of your lungs, telling them ‘It’s not like what it seems’ but they couldn’t hear a thing and you’ll continue being you, as perceived by their eyes.”

It was quite a refreshing read, after having a couple of breakdowns on my own. Being a huge bundle of sadness, misery, anger, frustration for some of the people around me. How to have a family who only knows how to text you whenever they feel like and not knowing how I’d been or even where I lived. Indeed, it was frustrating and sad on top of it all, especially when you hoped they would care more and show that they care instead of just saying some easy words, but they didn’t.

At least from her memoir, I knew someone else had been through quite a similar situation before, only tougher. But her family wasn’t screwed up, instead the people around her, the public, co-worker (whom publicly revealed that he despised her) and others. She showed how perseverance really paid off in the end and how the brightest sun always shines after the worst storm has passed.

Now the only thing is, to remain strong and stand tall. If you can’t fix it, you gotta stand it. Amen.

Barbara Walter’s , Audition: A Memoir is available now and distributed by Knopft.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Back to the Center of the Universe

...also known as Taiping.

Last weekend, I had to head up north to attend a wedding reception on my parents' behalf while they are still in Mecca performing umrah. Then I thought, why not I drag my hommie along so he could see (and taste) the marvelous-ness of a small town called Taiping.

Armed with bag-load of tid bits and my serviced Kiki the Kancil (thanks, sis!) off we went back to my dearly beloved town. Boy, I have things all planned out for both of us - mainly has got to do with various eating places and delish food.

Day 1 - Friday

The journey back to Taiping is approximately 250km, so I better have some good company and amusing activities while driving back. Glad to say with Ayi around, I got both. We stopped for lunch in KFC Sungai Buloh R&R, fuel in Rawang, fruits in Tapah and finally in m brother's place in Ipoh before heading directly to Taiping.

Somewhere along the highway

That night, my mission of introducing him to the vast variety of delish food in Taiping kicked off in a small stall run by my cousin, where you can get a (read: very) tasty 'mee bandung' or capati for Taiping price i.e. cheap.

Day 2 - Saturday

That morning was perfect. The roads, the trees were wet from last night's downpour and you could feel the air was still damp. The sun was not visible, hidden somewhere behind thick clouds. It was perfect, it was more than perfect. I felt great to be back and to be alive on such a beautiful morning.

After allowing 15-minutes of being sentimental and Mrs-Dalloway-like, we went for breakfast and we had curry mee (yes, it WAS for breakfast). This particular place, Pak Aziz stall, has been a regular one with my family since 10 years ago. I've been up north, down south and to the east and west but this curry mee is still the best to my liking.

By noon, I went for my teacher's daughter reception in Kamunting and she kept whoring me around as her favourite student since I was in primary school, where she taught me. *giggles* Pride aside, we were there to celebrate her daughter and celebrate we did. After spending about an hour there, we left for a quick tour around Taiping...

Me being congenial at my best

...starting with bowling game in Plaza Perbandaran! Though I admit it was my lousiest game ever (I didn't even touch 90 points), I still won over Ayi. Haha. Takes an amateur to know one, as they say.

Ayi putting in his best effort. Not.


Then we strolled around the town. I took Ayi for a real treat of Taiping by introducing him to the infamous Taiping cendol, which located behind my alma mater, and pasembor. And boy, for RM2, you could get a sumptuous laksa and be full with it. Try doing it in KL and tell me how it goes.

'Pasembor sotong'

Jalan-jalan, cari makan...

The famous and tasty Bismillah Cendol. Well, if it ain't tasty, it ain't famous, right?

Cendol-virgin

Cendol kosong kecil - RM1.00, Cendol kosong besar - RM1.10, Laksa - RM2.00, satisfaction and joy - priceless


At night, we had our dinner in Doli, the famous char koey teow. The food and everything else in Taiping just got better and better.

Day 3 - Sunday

After giving my Kancil a bath, we packed, went for breakfast in Warung Muhibbah which located somewhere close to the Lake Gardens with its tasty nasi lemak, and head back to KL. I felt glad because I could finally share with Ayi about my first love and show it to him first-handedly - my Taiping.

Heading back to KL. Muka mahu penampar.

Tapah R&R. Somebody's hungry :)