Selamat Datang ke Kuala Lumpur!

“Selamat Datang ke Kuala Lumpur!” means Welcome to Kuala Lumpur! in Malaysia. I wish I could write this entire blog in Malay (my national language), but no one would be able to understand it.

I am almost two weeks away from flying home to Kuala Lumpur (KL), the capital and largest city in Malaysia, and what better way to prepare for it than blogging about it!

I don’t mean to offend anyone, but through my experience here in the States I realized that very few people know anything about where I come from and sometimes that offends me too. I’ve been asked questions like “do you guys ride bicycles?”, “have you eaten a pizza?”, and “Do you have chocolate milk where you come from?” Come on people!!

Here’s what Wikipedia says about KL.

KL is the city where I grew up. Heck, it’s the city where I was born. To be honest, we might not have the cleanest air, we might not have the nicest people, we might not have the best traffic system … but we make it up by having some of the tallest buildings in the world, the largest shopping mall complex in the country, beautiful sights, amazing food, 24/7 nightlife and plenty of things to do.

One of my favorite places that I used to visit as a kid was Dataran Merdeka (means Independent Platform). It was the location where our country declared our independence against the British 53 years ago. When I was young, my parents used to bring my siblings and I to Dataran Merdeka at night so that we could run around the field.

Dataran Merdeka

KL is just a beautiful city and there’s so much more to it than what people might think. Yes, we are a small country and might not have the best facilities and transportation system, but nobody’s perfect right?

Did you know that Lonely Planet listed Malaysia as one of the top 10 countries for 2010?

To me, it all comes down to loving where you come from. I might occasionally have to spend 5-10 minutes explaining to people where I come from and where is Malaysia on the world map, but I do so proudly.

Here’s Part 1 of Anthony Bourdain’s trip to Malaysia, enjoy! (I love him)

Advertisements

The Best of the Best

As the NBA Playoffs 2010 continues to heat up in the second round, I just want to take some time to wrap up the regular season performance awards that have been passed out by the NBA in the last month.

2009-10 NBA MVP

Lebron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers won the Maurice Podoloff Trophy for the second year in a row and became the 2009-10 NBA Most Valuable Player.

James led the Cavaliers this season to the best record in the NBA regular season, 61-21.

James is the second leading scorer in the regular season with 29.7ppg and averaging 8.6 assists, 7.3 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 1.0 blocks through out the season.

In his seventh year in the NBA, James is only the 10th player to win back-t0-back MVP awards. The nine players that have had that honor are Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bll Russel, Moses Malone, Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Steve Nash, and Tim Duncan.

This year, the list of amazing players that came short of the award this year include Kevin Durant (OKC), Kobe Bryant (LAL), Dwight Howard (ORL), Dwayne Wade (MIA), and Carmelo Anthony (DEN).

However, with his impressive individual achievements, the one thing that’s still missing in James trophy case is a championship ring. After seven seasons of playing for the Cavaliers, King James is still unable to take his team to the next level and reach the NBA Playoff Finals.

2009-10 NBA 6th Man of the Year


Bench players play such crucial roles when it comes to winning games. Their contributions in a game can make or break a team, therefore their efforts off the bench are as valuable as a starter.

This year, the league’s best player in a reserve role aka the Sixth Man of the Year award goes to Jamal Crawford of the Atlanta Hawks. He proved that you don’t have to be a starter to produce magic on the court. His statistics this season is almost and maybe even more impressive than some starters.

His efforts and contributions off the bench has not only helped the Hawks win more than 50 games in the regular season, it also helped the Hawks beat the Milwaukee Bucks in seven games in their first round match-up of the 2010 Playoffs.

2009-10 NBA Defensive Player of the Year


Superman dominates again. Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic received the honor of being the league’s best defensive player for the second straight season.

Leading the league in both rebounding and blocks, he has made it difficult for players to score in the paint against the Magic. Howard’s improvement in defense has helped the Magic to sweep the Charlotte Bobcats (4-0) in the first round of the 2010 NBA Playoffs.

This season, Howard managed to beat out other defensive players in the voting, including Josh Smith (ATL), Gerald Wallace (CHA), Rajon Rondo (BOS), and Ron Artest (LAL).

2009-10 NBA Most Improved Player


Even though his team did not make it to the NBA Playoffs this year, Aaron Brooks does not plan to stop improving himself as a player.

After he upped his scoring average by 8.4ppg this season, Aaron Brooks of the Houston Rockets was named 2009-10 NBA Most Improved Player.

California man ‘beats’ Bejeweled 2 – Plugged In – Yahoo! Games

We’re here to Celebrate.Remember.Fight Back

On April 17th, I woke up at 5am and packed as if I’m going for a camping trip, but that was not where I was heading.

The day has come for us to turn our words into action, the day that we spent months preparing for – Relay For Life San Diego State.

Before I get into the details, let me tell you a little bit about Relay For Life.

The American Cancer Society Relay For Life is a life-changing event that gives everyone in communities across the globe a chance to celebrate the lives of people who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost, and fight back against the disease. At Relay, teams of people camp out at a local high school, park, or fairground and take turns walking or running around a track or path. Each team is asked to have a representative on the track at all times during the event. Because cancer never sleeps, Relays are overnight events up to 24 hours in length.

Relay began in 1985 when Dr. Gordy Klatt, a colorectal surgeon in Tacoma, Washington, ran and walked around a track for 24 hours to raise money for the American Cancer Society. Since then, Relay has grown from a single man’s passion to fight cancer into the world’s largest movement to end the disease. Each year, more than 3.5 million people in 5,000 communities in the United States, along with additional communities in 19 other countries, gather to take part in this global phenomenon and raise much-needed funds and awareness to save lives from cancer. Thanks to Relay participants, we are creating a world with more birthdays a world where cancer can’t claim another year of anyone’s life.

Anyone can participate in Relay For Life. Friends, families, neighbors, classmates, sports teams, etc., can form their own teams. No matter who you are, there’s a place for you at Relay.” – The American Cancer Society Relay For Life information page.

This year, I was fortunate enough to be able to participate in my first ever Relay For Life. The reasons that I have decided to join the Relay Committee was not only because I wanted to help find a cure to cancer and inspire others, I join because I have lost members of my family to cancer as well. Both of my parents’ families have been affected by cancer in someway or another. We have had cancer survivors, but we also have family members that lost the cancer battle. Because of cancer, I never got to meet and know my grandfather (my mom’s father). Because of cancer, my grandmother didn’t have the chance to say goodbye to her sister. Because of cancer, my granduncle left us too soon. It breaks my heart to see my family go through this and I cannot imagine having others who are experiencing the same or worst.

The experience that I got out from being at Relay For Life San Diego State is probably something I can never find anywhere else. Seeing the number of people that came and support the cause, knowing the amount of money these people have helped raised, and hearing all the different stories that others have went through has shown me how serious the issue of cancer really is and that it is important for us to work together to find a cure.

We had a family team which consisted of many different family members who drove from many different places outside of San Diego just to participate in Relay For Life. We had people of many different ages, from grandparents to little kids. We had a team which even provided everyone with free food through out the entire day.

On April 17th through April 18th, my heart felt like it was in the right place when I realized that I spent over 24 hours with a group of people who dedicate themselves to helping others as much as I do. The Relay Committee members consisted of amazing individuals who all understood what it was like to be affected by cancer. We came together as a group and dedicated our time and effort to make Relay For Life San Diego State a success. It was a long hard day, but we all left with a big smile on our face because we know that we helped make a difference today.

NBA Playoffs Fever Begins

Tonight marked the end of NBA regular season for 2009/2010. Next stop —- PLAYOFFS!!

So here’s a look at the first round (seven game series) match ups.

EASTERN CONFERENCE

1. Cleveland Cavaliers v. 8. Chicago Bulls

2. Orlando Magic v. 7. Charlotte Bobcats

3. Atlanta Hawks v. 6. Milwaukee Bucks

4. Boston Celtics v. 5. Miami Heats

WESTERN CONFERENCE

1. Los Angeles Lakers (Defending Champions) v. 8. Oklahoma City Thunders

2. Dallas Mavericks v. 7. San Antonio Spurs

3. Phoenix Suns v. 6. Portland Trailblazers

4. Denver Nuggets v. 5. Utah Jazz

With the top 8 teams in the West all finishing with 50 wins or more during the regular season and the unpredictability of the East, I can’t wait to see which teams will survive the first round. If the Western Conference is anything like the race to the playoffs, we are definitely in for a lot of high scoring close games.

Can the Chicago Bulls keep their fighting spirits alive and give Lebron James and company a tough challenge in the first round? During last year’s playoffs, the Bulls definitely caught the world’s attention when they played 7 OT in the first round but lost to the Boston Celtics.

With all the star players and outstanding talents that every team has, it will be difficult to separate the better from the best. How will first time playoff team Charlotte Bobcats face up against last year’s Eastern champs the Orlando Magic? Let’s hope that Michael Jordan’s presence is a lucky one.

How about Utah Jazz? Will losing home court advantage on the last day of regular season affect their mind set going into their first game against Carmelo Anthony and the Denver Nuggets? After being hailed as one of the best point guard in the league this season, Deron Williams will have to prove his worth as he faces up against playoff experienced Chauncey Billups.

Can Butler and Haywood, who were obtained from the trade help the Dallas Mavericks go all the way this year? Or will they be stopped by the fancy moves and quick footworks of Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili? Let’s not forget one of the most notable power forward in the history of NBA  – Tim Duncan and one of the best 6-footer shooter in the NBA – Dirk Nowitzki.

Being a Lakers fan, I am definitely looking forward to seeing Kobe and the rest of the Lakers kick it into high gear and defend their championship. With the league’s top scorer in the regular season Kevin Durant ahead of them, the Lakers’ defends will have to go all out to stop the Thunders’ scoring machine in the first round.

With all that being said, when it comes to the NBA Playoffs, one thing is for sure – it is where great players are born and it is where history happens.

April stands for Autism Awareness Month

According to Autism Speaks Inc.,

Autism affects 1 in 110 children around the world and 1 in 7o boys in the United States , making it more common than childhood cancer, juvenile diabetes and pediatric AIDS combined.

An estimated of 1.5 million individuals in the U.S and tens of millions worldwide are affected by Autism.

Government statistics suggest the prevalence rate of autism is increasing 10-17 percent annually.

So what is Autism?

Autism is a general term used to describe a group of complex developmental brain disorders known as Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDD). The other pervasive developmental disorders are PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not
Otherwise Specified), Asperger’s Syndrome, Rett Syndrome and Childhood Disintegrative Disorder. Many parents and professionals refer to this group as Autism Spectrum Disorders. (www.autismspeaks.org)

What causes Autism?

The answer is still unknown.

On April 2nd, it was World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD). The United Nations General Assembly declared it in order to highlight the need to help improve the lives of children and adults who suffer from the disorder so they can lead full and meaningful lives.

“Let us join persons with autism, their families and their advocates in a community of voices for greater awareness and understanding. Let us also look within, and re-evaluate our attitudes and those of our societies so we can remove the prejudices that discriminate against persons with disabilities. Let us dedicate ourselves to creating a fair and caring society that affords true dignity and rights for all.” – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Message for World Autism Awareness Day, 2 April 2010.
Click here to read President Barack Obama’s statement supporting WAAD.
To increase awareness and highlight World Autism Awareness Day, Autism Speaks created a campaign called “Light it Up Blue”. The campaign had prominent buildings such as the Empire State Building to lit up blue on the night of April 1st. Click on “Light it Up Blue” to see pictures and read stories about how people all around the world light it up blue.
Many organizations took the effort to collaborate with Autism Speaks to commemorate World Autism Awareness Day, including the National Basketball Association (NBA). On April 2nd, coaches, staffs, players and members of the NBA league were seen wearing the Autism Speak puzzle piece pin. During halftime shows, the NBA matches would also have announcements about World Autism Awareness Day. Click here to read more about how the NBA is helping the cause.
Autism has affected the lives of so many families all across the world, including mine. In 2005, my cousin, Kenneth, then 2, was diagnosed with autism. In the beginning, his diagnosis confused many of the members of my family because we knew little to nothing about autism. It took some time for reality to sink in and my uncle and aunt had to make decisions that they never thought they would have to. Kenneth was their first child and many difficult changes and tough decisions had to be made after the diagnosis.
When I asked my aunt how she felt when she first heard the news, she said that she was heartbroken and her initial thoughts were giving up.  However, she realized that Kenneth deserves to have a life just like any ordinary child and it is their (parents) responsibility to help and support him.
Kenneth, now 6, has two younger brothers. He attends school from Monday to Friday, attends speech therapy twice a week and has a personal therapist visiting him twice a week. He loves watching sports all the time, especially basketball. He’s athletic, active, and healthy. He has changed the lives of every single person in our family and we love him dearly for everything that he is.
With the increasing number of diagnosis, it is crucial that we come together to help find a cure for autism. Visit Autism Speaks to see how you can get involved and help the millions of families around the world.

Not Just Another Day

On March 22nd, I found out that it was World Water Day. The day not only had me thinking about water, it also had me thinking “What other universal international days are there?”.

So, the next thing I did was started googling away and came across United Nation’s website. After clicking my way through the site, I landed where I want to be – United Nations Observances.

The page provided me with an entire list of international days observed and celebrated throughout the year. I was surprised by all the amount of international days and how many I did not know existed. For instance, I didn’t know that June 8 is World Oceans Day or that September 27 is World Heart Day. October 1 is International Day of Older Persons, which I think is really awesome and I would love to tell this to every single person that is older than I am.

The other great thing about the page is that it will link you to the history of the specific days and how they came to be. Now I know why November 21 is World Television Day. It’s not a day where the entire world sits down and watch television together, but a day where people recognize the impact that television has on decision-making and the role it plays in presenting information to the public.

I like discovering what’s happening around the world everyday and how people are living their life. I find myself enjoying the search for the different, the odd, the unique, the special, and the weird in life. These little/big things are the things that inspire my life.

So if you ever have a question in your head, don’t be afraid to find the answer, even if it means googling for it.

Pictures from Earth Hour 2010

The Associated Press: World’s shortest man, He Pingping, dies in Italy

Time to +1 to that magic number again

March 11. The 70th day of the year (71st in leap years) which also means that there are 295 days remaining until the end of the year.

This day has become very important, significant and special to me throughout my life. This is because it marks the day that my parents welcomed me into this world.

I was born on March 11, 1998 at a little past 3p.m. (Malaysia time). Here are some fun facts regarding my “arrival to planet earth”.
1. I was the second child in my family.
2. I was my parent’s first daughter.
3. I became the first granddaughter to take on my dad’s family name.
4. I was born with teeth.
5. I literally have two different ears, in terms of shape and bone structure.
6. My hair was “anti-gravity” for about a whole year after I was born.
7. I have two birth marks.
8. I was born 10 days before my dad’s 28th birthday.
9. I was born a month after my best friend (Gary) was born.
10. It was a public holiday in Selangor (my state), thanks to the opening of a new mosque named after the Sultan of the state.

Birthdays have always been a big deal in my family. My parents enjoyed throwing birthday parties every single year for every of their children (thankfully there’s only 3 of us). Because of my parents, I love presents, birthday cakes and the whole idea of celebrating birthdays. I can still remember the many years of Minnie Mouse birthday cakes, the Barbie dolls phase, and all the cute teddy bears (I still keep most of them). I have a photo album collections just for pictures taken at my birthday parties, ever since I turned the big “1”.

Flashforward 22 years later, I am a million miles away from my family and friends, about to celebrate another birthday. Do I wish I could fly half way across the world to celebrate it with them? YES. But unfortunately, I know that is never going to happen.

Turning 22 feels weird to me. Some people, like my younger sister calls it “old”; others like my friends who are older, calls it “young”. Personally, I feel like I’m barely getting started with my life. One of the reasons is because I am still depending on my parents to support me through life, so part of me still feel like I am not 100% independent yet and that my journey to build a life of my own hasn’t fully lift off.

I am thankful that I have a wonderful family to support me every step of the way. It’s not just my immediate family, but my grandparents, aunt, uncles…everybody. They are always there with their “not always helpful” advice or opinions, but I love them for being there. My family is my rock.

As I grow older, I come to realize what my priorities in life are, and family is definitely number one. Besides them, who I am today has a lot to do with my second “family” as well, my best friends. We met when we were kids and now we’re all turning into adults. We’ve seen each other grow throughout our lives, stuck by each other through all the drama and celebrated all the success we’ve achieved thus far. To me, those guys are like my brothers from another mother.

I wouldn’t call growing older fun, but I think the journey is worthwhile and the stories that come out of it is irreplaceable. If Peter Pan ever offered me a trip to Neverland, I would probably take it. But I would also tell him “I’m just visiting”.

My dad's side: 5 aunts, 4 uncles, my dad and my grandparents

My sister and I

My best friends

My best friends

My mom and I

« Older entries