Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Special Bunch Is Coming to Town

My dear Uncle Zorro has come up with his declaration here and i believe we all agree to what Barisan Rakyat Bloggers stand up for. For me, this is best community service ever and don't you think we should all support this great cause, in our own ways?

The fight between Mr. Fishmonger and The Learned Man will be held on 14 July 2009, as Mr. Dnightcaller wrote here. Viva Mr. Fishmonger - without a fishmonger, i wonder where we would be now.

This song is for dear Uncle Zorro, Mr Duke The Whisperer and the rest of Special Bunch, who will lend their endless supports for the goodness of people in Manek Urai. May the force be with them, as our thoughts and prayers shall be with them, always.

You better watch out
You better not cry
You better not pout i'm telling you why
Special Bunch is coming to town
Special Bunch is coming to town

They are making a list checking it twice
They gonna find out who's naughty and nice
Special Bunch is coming to town
Special Bunch is coming to town

They see you when you're sleeping
They know when you're awake
They know if you've been bad or good
So be good for goodness sake!

You better watch out
You better not cry
You better not pout i'm telling you why
Special Bunch is coming to town
Special Bunch is coming to town

Monday, June 29, 2009


Love is ... forgiving even if you are really angry

Any fool can criticise, condemn and complain
but it takes character and self control
to be understanding and forgiving
- Dale Carnegie

In the face of unjust criticism, we can become: -
bitter or better;
upset or understanding;
hostile or humble;
furious or forgiving
- William Arthur Ward

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Why We Love Who We Love

"Have you ever known a married couple that just didn't seem as though they should fit together - yet they are both happy in the marriage, and you figure out why?"

That's the prelude to the above article i found in my RM2-May 1997 Reader's Digest i bought yesterday.

The writer, Ms. Joyce Brothers, shares about one of the most telling, mysterious force that drives us into the arms of one person, while pushing us away from another who might appear equally desirable to any unbiased observer. It is called "Lovemap" - a term coined by John Money, a Professor Emeritus of Medical Psychology and Pediatrics in the USA.

Our Lovemap is a group of messages encoded in our brains that decribes our likes and dislikes and records the kind of personality that appeals to us. The gist is - we fall for and pursue those people who most clearly fit our Lovemap.

This map is largely determined in childhood, where by the age of 8, the pattern of our ideal mate has already begun to float around in our brains (i was once informed that we wrote our life script during our early childhood, hence, child development is imperatively crucial stage in our life).

When a group of couples was asked on what drew them to their dates or mates, there would be many similarities between their ideal mates and their moms. Yes, our mom - the first real love of our life - writes a significant portion of our lovemap.

When we are little, our mom is the centre of our attention and we are the centres of hers. So, our mom's characteristics leave an indelible impression and we are forever after attracted to people with her facial featuers, body type, personality, even sense of humour.

Mom has an additional influence on her sons - she not only gives them clues to what they will find attractive in a mate, but also about how they feel about women in general.

While mom determines in large part what qualities attract us in mate, it's the dad - the first male in our lives - who influences how we relate to the opposite sex, so much so that dad has an enormous effect on their children's personalities and chances of marital happiness. A dad, too, influences how his daughters relate to men, just like mom does to her sons.

Robert Winch, a longtime sociology Professor at Northwestern University in the USA, stated in his reserach that our choice of a marriage partners involves a number of social similarities and our complementary needs. He also observed that it is the balancing out of social likeness and psychological differences that seems to point the way for the most solid lifelong romance. Despite this findings, our lovemap is still predominated by our moms and dads. So even if the couple comes from different social backgrounds, they could be happy together for they complement each other or they see their mom and dad in their partner.

How about love at first sight? It happens if the couple probably discovers a unique something they have in common, which complements their own personality.

The writer herself experienced it first hand when she fell in love with her husband the instant she saw him during a family dinner - a love that Eric Fromm called a "feeling of fusion, of oneness", even while they both continued to change, grow and fulfill our lives.

p.s. No, I'm yet to meet, in person, my Mr. Right but I am excited by my mom's words - "If you really like someone, pursue him". Wow! My Dear Mak, you really read your daughter's mind :)

Now, I know why i admire Yang Berkhidmat Husam Musa - whenever i look at him, i see my mom and my dad. Really...

For My Reading Pleasures

Lately, I have been lagging in 'menyahut seruan sendiri' - "A book a week keeps the stupidity away". Instead of awake, i would fall asleep on the third paragraph, hence i am only half way through of a book i borrowed from an interesting friend 1 solid month ago.

Here's the list to my impending reading pleasures in the next 2 weeks: -

Tony Hawks - A Piano in the Pyrenees

"If you had to pick two things you wanted - if you had to - what would you pick? I hesitated. This was a bigger question than usually got asked at these post-match debriefs. 'I suppose the honest answer would be,' I said, still accessing the last pieces of required data from a jumbled mind, 'meeting my soul mate, and finding an idyllic house abroad somewhere...'

Inspired by breathtaking views and romantically dreaming of finding love in the mountains, Tony Hawks impulsively buys an idyllic house in the French Pyrenees. And here, he imagines, he will finally fulfil his childhood fantasy of mastering the piano, all the while overlooking spectacular views as the troubles of the world pass by unnoticed. Tony's hopelessly ill-prepared stumbling into the world of overseas home ownership is perhaps best read as a useful manual of how not to go about buying a house abroad. He flirts with the removal business in a disastrous attempt to take his piano over to France in a dodgy white van; foolishly elects to build a swimming pool himself; and takes his experience of relationships to a new level when he finds himself co-habiting, not with a beautiful French woman, but with his old mate Ron the builder from West London.

Yet, as Tony and his small group of friends haplessly attempt to integrate themselves into local village life, they learn more about themselves and each other than they ever bargained for. And for at least one of them, love is found at last, in the most unexpected of places..."

p.s. I learn about a great turn-off one-liner that i could use - "I'm still interviewing for the position of my Mr. Right" ;)

Soulmate? Sounds like So(u)l(e)d Out to me ;P

Michael Gates Gill - How Starbucks Saved My Life

"Yale graduate, prosperous ad exec: Gill has it all. Then he turns 60 and finds himself precipitously bounced from his job and saddled with the triple threats of a ruined marriage, an unexpected newborn, and a brain tumor. Despairing at the prospect of looming poverty, he stops at a Manhattan Starbucks to comfort himself with a latte.

By chance he sits down next to Crystal, a young African American woman recruiting new workers for the coffee giant, and she offers him a job. Almost as an act of desperation, he accepts, and he dons the uniform of a barista-in-training at an Upper West Side Starbucks.

This son of privilege who had hobnobbed with Queen Elizabeth, T. S. Eliot, and Jackie Onassis, now keeps daily company with a diverse crew of brash young New Yorkers for whom Starbucks' progressive employee benefits and demanding, inspiring standards of public service offer hope.

Gill starts at the bottom, cleaning the bathroom, and he has trouble mastering the cash register. Over the months he learns to deeply respect Crystal, to appreciate the mutual support of his coworkers, and to genuinely cherish the passing parade of customers, each unique.

To his own astonishment, he realizes that he actually looks forward joyfully to every hectic, exhausting workday. Other corporate giants can only envy the sheer goodwill that this memoir will inevitably generate for Starbucks".

p.s. The KISSes i know are "Keep It Short and Simple" and "Keep it Short and Sweet" and i was told by Azlan that in this book, i shall learn about "Keep it Simple, Stupid" ;P Darn right!

Jon Krakauer - Into Thin Air

"A bank of clouds was assembling on the not-so-distant horizon, but journalist-mountaineer Jon Krakauer, standing on the summit of Mt. Everest, saw nothing that "suggested that a murderous storm was bearing down." He was wrong. The storm, which claimed five lives and left countless more--including Krakauer's--in guilt-ridden disarray, would also provide the impetus for Into Thin Air, Krakauer's epic account of the May 1996 disaster".

p.s. I was introduced to Mr. Jon Krakauer's writings by Bro PT CA, as he shared with me about Jon's "Into The Wild" and i am now hooked to reading "Outside" - a magazine focused on the outdoors. Though I hardly been doing outdoor activities (as i have a slight symptom of OCD - i need a clean restroom, at all times), i love reading the articles and stories featured. Maybe you should have a peek and experience the WOW factor. Before that, may i put my disclaimer clause that i do not read it because of the hunks appearing in the articles, ok?

p.s.s. 12 years ago, someone dear told me that his ultimate dream is to climb up the mighty, perilous K2, the Savage Mountain - the second highest after Mt Everest. Alas, he never get to fulfill his dream. My reading this book shall be in memory of ever-brilliant Zen.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Fly Away and Rest In Peace MJ

Last night, I was tossing on my bed - Actifed didn't do its work as I dozed off around 4 am, amidst the thunders and lightnings outside my windows. As a result, I didn't feel like going to work but i did anyway and after plugging on the earphones, unashamedly, my tears rolled down my cheeks and i can say i was sobbing when i heard over the radio that the King of Pop passed away this morning due to cardiac arrest - 3 weeks shy from his scheduled 50 sold-out "This Is It" concerts in The Arena @ O2, London, after 12-long year of his absence from the concert arena.

Suddenly it feels empty inside - which is extremely weird for i am not his fan. Maybe it's his songs that i grew up with and the songs that soothe my weary soul - ABC, I'll Be There, Beat It, Thriller, Billy Jeans, Man In The Mirror, We Are The World, Black or White, Heal The World, Earth Song, You Are Not Alone.

No matter what the media and us judged him negatively, I always believe that when we are able to feel connected to another stranger, it is because of his good heart. I don't know much of his songs but what i do know he sings the song of my heart.

May his soul rest in peace and may his humanitarian legacies live on. Listen to his songs - "We Are The World", "Black or White", "Heal The World" and "Earth Song" - and I know this world can be a better place for all.

"The life of a man consists not in seeing visions and in dreaming dreams, but in active charity and in willing service" - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Let's Yum Chaa - The Green Tea Way

Upon receiving the following email from a colleague on Green Tea, I thought of easy-to-grab fresh juices (from Kiwi to Dragonfruit, Cherry to Raspberry) and all kinds of teas I could get my hands on to suit my taste and bodily needs, nearby the 'old' office. It was so easy to eat healthily down there - i ought to feel sinful if i didn't jump on the bandwagons of healthy lifestyle. So, why don't we start small - simply by drinking Green Tea?

Green tea has increasingly become a very popular drink worldwide because of its immensely powerful health benefits.

It is extraordinarily amazing what green tea can do for your health.And if you’re not drinking 3 to 4 cups of green tea today, you’re definitely NOT doing your health a big favour.

Here Are The 25 Reasons Why You Should Start Drinking Green Tea: -

1. Green Tea and Cancer

Green tea helps reduce the risk of cancer. The antioxidant in green tea is 100 times more effective than vitamin C and 25 times better than vitamin E. This helps your body at protecting cells from damage believed to be linked to cancer.

2. Green Tea and Heart Disease

Green tea helps prevent heart disease and stroke by lowering the level of cholesterol. Even after the heart attack, it prevents cell deaths and speeds up the recovery of heart cells.

3. Green Tea and Anti-Aging

Green tea contains antioxidant known as polyphenols which fight against free radicals. What this means it helps you fight against aging and promotes longevity.

4. Green Tea and Weight Loss

Green tea helps with your body weight loss. Green tea burns fat and boosts your metabolism rate naturally.It can help you burn up to 70 calories in just one day.

5. Green Tea and Skin

Antioxidant in green tea protects the skin from the harmful effects of free radicals, which cause wrinkling and skin aging. Green tea also helps fight against skin cancer.

6. Green Tea and Arthritis

Green tea can help prevent and reduce the risk of rheumatoid arthritis. Green tea has benefit for your health as it protects the cartilage by blocking the enzyme that destroys cartilage.

7. Green Tea and Bones

The very key to this is high fluoride content found in green tea. It helps keep your bones strong. If you drink green tea every day, this will help you preserve your bone density.

8. Green Tea and Cholesterol

Green tea can help lower cholesterol level. It also improves the ratio of good cholesterol to bad cholesterol, by reducing bad cholesterol level.

9. Green Tea and Obesity

Green tea prevents obesity by stopping the movement of glucose in fat cells. If you are on a healthy diet, exercise regularly and drink green tea, it is unlikely you’ll be obese.

10. Green Tea and Diabetes

Green tea improves lipid and glucose metabolisms, prevents sharp increases in blood sugar level, and balances your metabolism rate.

11. Green Tea and Alzheimer’s

Green tea helps boost your memory. And although there’s no cure for Alzheimer’s, it helps slow the process of reduced acetylcholine in the brain, which leads to Alzheimer’s.

12. Green Tea and Parkinson’s

Antioxidants in green tea helps prevent against cell damage in the brain, which could cause Parkinson’s. People drinking green tea also are less likely to progress with Parkinson’s.

13. Green Tea and Liver Disease

Green tea helps prevent transplant failure in people with liver failure. Researches showed that green tea destroys harmful free radicals in fatty livers.

14. Green Tea and High Blood Pressure

Green tea helps prevent high blood pressure.Drinking green tea helps keep your blood pressure down by repressing angiotensin, which leads to high blood pressure.

15. Green Tea and Food Poisoning

Catechin found in green tea can kill bacteria which causes food poisoning and kills the toxins produced by those bacteria.

16. Green Tea and Blood Sugar

Blood sugar tends to increase with age, but polyphenols and polysaccharides in green tea help lower your blood sugar level.

17. Green Tea and Immunity

Polyphenols and flavenoids found in green tea help boost your immune system, making your health stronger in fighting against infections.

18. Green Tea and Cold and Flu
Green tea prevents you from getting a cold or flu. Vitamin C in green tea helps you treat the flu and the common cold.

19. Green Tea and Asthma

Theophylline in green tea relaxes the muscles which support the bronchial tubes, reducing the severity of asthma.

20. Green Tea and Ear Infection

Green tea helps with ear infection problem. For natural ear cleaning, soak a cotton ball in green tea and clean the infected ear.

21. Green Tea and Herpes

Green tea increases the effectiveness of topical interferon treatment of herpes. First green tea compress is applied, and then let the skin dry before the interferon treatment.

22. Green Tea and Tooth Decay

Green tea destroys bacteria and viruses that cause many dental diseases. It also slows the growth of bacteria which leads to bad breath.

23. Green Tea and Stress

L-theanine, which is a kind of amino acids in green tea, can help relieve stress and anxiety.

24. Green Tea and Allergies

EGCG found in green tea relieves allergies. So, if you have allergies, you should really consider drinking green tea.

25. Green Tea and HIV

Scientists in Japan have found that EGCG (Epigallocatechin Gallate) in green tea can stop HIV from binding to healthy immune cells. What this means is that green tea can help stop the HIV virus from spreading.
Let's Yum Cha All!

Set Your Mouth Ulcer - Free

Over the past few weeks, my mom and my colleague have been suffering from persistent mouth ulcers. Chu has hers whenever My Little Angels sit for their exams. I am sure you, too, suffer from one every now and then.

So, let’s get to know more about this elusive canker sore.

What are they?

A mouth ulcer is an exposed nerve in the lining of your mouth. They are also known as canker sores - shallow, painful sores in the mouth. They are usually red or may sometimes have a white coating over them. You might get them on the inside of your lips, the insides of your cheeks, the base of your gums or under your tongue. Canker sores are different from fever blisters, which usually are on the outside of your lips or the corners of your mouth.

Who normally suffers from one?

Anyone can get them, but women and people in their teens and 20’s get them more often. They may run in families, but they aren't contagious.

What causes them?

1. Accidental damage - Brushing your teeth too hard, minor burns from hot food and drinks, biting the inside of the mouth accidentally, a tooth that's become rough, or orthodontic braces that rub against the gums. These could last for a week or more.

2. The other common type is an aphthous ulcer, which occurs when someone's feeling stressed or under the weather. They often appear for the first time during puberty and they can run in families. These can take a couple of weeks to heal and are likely to keep appearing until someone's feeling relaxed and well again.

3. Other more serious causes of mouth ulcers include herpes infection, inflammatory bowel disease and immune disorders (such as Crohn disease and ulcerative colitis).

4. Sometimes a deficiency in iron, vitamin B12 or folate is the underlying cause, which is why anyone who keeps getting ulcers or who has ulcers that are not healing should consult their doctor.

5. Some even said too much Vitamin C could lead to mouth ulcers.

Can I prevent them?

1. Practise good dental hygiene, taking care not to damage your teeth and gums, and visit the dentist as often as advised.

2. Eating a healthy, varied diet, which includes fruits, vegetables, wholegrains, milk, fish and lean red meat, will supply your body with the necessary vitamins, zinc and iron to maintain a strong immune system that can resist infections.

3. Avoiding food and drinks that are too hot is sensible, and

4. Try to relax and keep stress under control

p.s. Well, I know it is easier said than done but why stress over things that are beyond your control? Why the premature presumptions and prejudice? Why the unnecessary insecurity?

What's the treatment?

1. Gargling and swallowing soluble paracetamol relieves the pain, and rinsing the mouth with iced water before a meal makes eating possible.

p.s. Perhaps, gargling with salt water (natural antiseptic) could do the same trick too...

2. Pastilles and gels that contain anaesthetic have been the mainstay of treatment for years.

3. Several studies have found a high incidence of iron and B vitamin deficiency among people with recurrent mouth ulcers. Supplementing with B vitamins-300 mg vitamin B1, 20 mg vitamin B2, and 150 mg vitamin B6-has been reported to provide some people with relief. Thiamine (B1) deficiency, specifically, has been linked to an increased risk.

4. Some people with recurrent mouth ulcers have been reported to respond to lactobacillus acidophilus. Chewing four lactobacillus tablets three times per day may reduce soreness in some people with recurrent mouth ulcers.

p.s. How about taking some Vitagen or Yakult every now and then?

5. Take 1,000 milligrams of the amino acid lysine at each meal during an outbreak and then 500 milligrams at each meal for a week afterward.

6. Rub the liquid from a vitamin E capsule directly on the sore. Apply it three times a day during an outbreak until the sore heals.

7. Take 4,000 - 5,000 milligrams of vitamin C daily during outbreaks of canker sores and at least 500 milligrams daily as a way of preventing them.

p.s. Level of intake of Vitamin C varies from one person to another. It is advisable that you know your threshold. If you had too much of Vitamin C (via supplements or acidic fruits), your bowel system will 'purge the toxic', resulted in you suffering from diarrhoea.

p.s.s. Children adore Vitamin C, especially Redoxon soluble tabs - for its sweet and sour, tangy and fizzy. Please exercise extra caution with your beloved kids.

Maybe they are not as painful as tooth ache but I know they could affect you and your loved ones in a big way. Treat them fast and if possible, ward them off from your mouth.
Love thy mouth!
"Devils can be driven out of the heart by the touch of a hand on a hand or a mouth on a mouth" - Tennessee Williams

Monday, June 22, 2009

Are We Really That Bad?

While nursing my bouts of flu last weekend, i watched "My Fair Lady", twice - first for the love of timeless beauty Audrey Hepburn and the second one for Professor Higgins. Surprised, surprised, even being highly sedated with meds, I simply couldn't forget the many adjectives uttered by Professor Higgins about women, as you can see below: -

Professor Henry Higgins: Women are irrational, that's all there is to that! Their heads are full of cotton, hay, and rags. They're nothing but exasperating, irritating, vacillating, calculating, agitating, maddening and infuriating hags!

Colonel Hugh Pickering: Are you a man of good character where women are concerned?

Professor Henry Higgins: Have you ever met a man of good character where women are concerned?

Colonel Hugh Pickering: Yes, very frequently.

Professor Henry Higgins: Well, I haven't. I find that the moment a woman makes friends with me she becomes jealous, exacting, suspicious, and a damn nuisance. And I find that the moment I make friends with a woman I become selfish and tyrannical. So here I am, a confirmed old bachelor and likely to remain so.

Wow, are we really that bad going by Professor Higgin's testimony, we XX-chromosome homo sapiens should be labelled as these - Caution : HAZARDOUS. Handle with Care or Suffer the Wrath. Hehehheh...

Boy, I do love rubbing salts to you guys out there... Women have many needs, men have only one need that is women. So, Professor Higgins, call us what you want for this world depends on us ;)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Happy Father's Day, Ayah

My ayah is a father of little words with his children but when he gets to the right topic and the right quorum, i need to give him some signals for him to finish his 'lecture and speech', fearing that he will hold back the quorum.

Still, i am privileged to have an ever-functioning communication channel with my Ayah - thanks to my good listening and attentive skills (that i have to thank my Mak).

Happy Father's Day, Ayah

~From your forever Little Girl~

"A father is a banker by Nature"

"One father is enough to govern one hundred sons but not a hundred sons one father" - George Herbert

"A father's words are like a thermostat that sets the temperature in the house" - Paul Lewis

"Becoming a father is easy enough, but being one can be very rough" - Wilhelm Busch

"Good fathers make good sons"

"Any man can be a father, but it takes a special person to be a dad'

"Blessed indeed is the man who hears many gentle voices call him father" - Lydia M. Child

"I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father's protection" - Sigmund Freud

"It doesn't matter who my father was, it matters who i remember he was" - Anne Sexton

Happy 64th Birthday to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi

p.s. Her smile reminds me of our benevolent Datin Seri Wan Azizah's, don't you think?

Today marks Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's 64th birthday and looking at her photo, she can easily pass as someone of 40-ish years old. I wonder how she could look serene, composed and remains strong. For the past 20 years, she was put under house arrest under the Junta's martial law (detention without trial..sounds familiar?), away from her beloved husband, Dr. Michael Aris and sons in London, and her people of Myanmar.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi
was awarded the 1991 Nobel Peace Price "for her non-violent struggle for democracy and human rights - one of the most extraordinary examples of civil courage in Asia in recent decades. She has become an important symbol in the struggle against oppression and to honour her unflagging efforts and to show its support for the many people throughout the world who are striving to attain democracy, human rights and ethnic conciliation by peaceful means”.

Dear Madam, your birthday is a special time to celebrate the gift of "YOU" to your people and may your birthday gently breezes into your life, all the choicest of things and all that your heart holds dearly.

Just some of her quotes to enligthen our down-trodden soul: -

"It is not power that corrupts but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it"

"Human beings the world over need freedom and security that they may be able to realize their full potential"

"I think I should be active politically. Because I look upon myself as a politician. That's not a dirty work you know. Some people think that there are something wrong with politicians. Of course, something wrong with some politicians"

“The value systems of those with access to power and of those far removed from such access cannot be the same. The viewpoint of the privileged is unlike that of the underprivileged”

“The provision of basic material needs is not sufficient to make minority groups and indigenous peoples feel they are truly part of the greater national entity. For that they have to be confident that they too have an active role to play in shaping the destiny of the state that demands their allegiance”

Building the Nation's Building Blocks - Our Children

Last sunday morning, my mother watched "Selamat Pagi Malaysia" over RTM1 where they invited Dato' Dr Noor Laily Dato' Abu Bakar to talk about services The Nury Institute could offer and share on education and treatment for special children (Read : Physically and/or Mentally Challenged such as Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, Hyperactive, Autism, Dyslexia amongst others).

Since I was busy 'feeding' Caillee, Gwen, Sally and Baylee, my mom told me that the institute brought along a family where all of four of their children are autistic, who shared their real life stories. With the guidance and support the parents sought from The Nury Institute, their first child is a now a handsome young man, who can talk like a normal person and is now enrolled in one university. That is amazing, miraculously amazing, I never heard of such extraordinary recovery of an autistic child in Malaysia, who not only become independent, yet doing well intellectually, considering that these children are often labelled as slow learner, deaf (hence, rendered them mute).

Alhamdulillah, today I found the institute's website and i found that it does not only deal with treatment of special children like my Little Angel, it also offers courses revolving around parenthood and family education. So far, the institute has trained more than 200,000 parents from both Malaysia and Singapore. Apart from parents, those who can also benefits from their services include 'bakal pengantin' (bagusnya), parents-to-be and child care service providers. Their list of clientele, that adopt their teaching concept, ranges from corporate and government agencies (the likes of DBKL, KEDA, YPJ, FELDA, Petronas, LUTH, PNB).

That makes me think - wouldn't it be wonderful if a child centre could be opened, if not within the same building as the mommies/daddies (yang mithali), in each business centre (it would be best if it is within walking distance from the parents' office), where: -

1. The children could come to work along with their mommies and/or daddies (More people will drive in ONE car (less traffic), no more 'bibiks' (no abuse) and more quality family time (it's always good to talk)).

2. The babies could be breastfed by their mommies (Results: Smarter, healthier, compassionate and conscientious children)

3. The parents could come over lunchtime to spend some time with their children (The family that eats together, sticks together).

4. If one of the parents have to stay late due to work, at least the other parent could look after their children in the meantime (well, i espouse this idea of long working hours but sometimes, it is unavoidable since most of you all out there are professionals with high responsibility).

5. If the child is sick, immediate necessary actions could be taken by the parents working nearby the child care centre.

6. If these centres are properly managed, according to trusted educational concept/approach and recognised healthcare and service standards, rest assured the parents could be more productive (at work) as they wouldn't have to unnecessarily worry about their beloved children.

7. The employers could positively contribute towards these centres, which could be translated into lower fees, better infrastructure (physically, mentally, morally, spiritually), enforcement of better family-friendly policies at workplace, amongst others.

Anyway, that's some wishlists from a non-parental human being - yours truly. All i want for my Little Angel is for him to get the best treatment available, instead of being wrongly labelled for the rest of his life, and I couldn't bear to see our 'building blocks' are not given the best they could have for them to make this Ibu Pertiwi a great nation, regardless of their race, religion and socio-economic background. Maybe we could start with our family first.

"Rise and fall of a nation rests with every one of its citizens" - Chinese Proverb

"To put the world in order, we must first put the nation in order, to put the nation in order, we must put the family in order, to put the family in order, we must cultivate our personal life, and to cultivate our personal life, we must first set our hearts right" - Confucius

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Must-Read Thursday – "ACT NOW"

There are times in my life I did daring things – well not so daring after all. Just different from what is labelled the norms by our society. Not for cheap publicity definitely as these days doing what is conscientious and compassionate can sometimes be considered so ‘mengada nak tunjuk pandai’.

Someone told me last night that if this way isn’t working, why not we do it differently as long as we achieve the goal? Correct, correct, correct (applicable to all except to the department of ‘cardiology’;)

Sincerely, Malaysian Heart was kind to share this article, by Dr. Andrew Aeria of UNIMAS, which was published by ALIRAN*. Thanks my dear friend.

Dear friends, please ponder the action wish list, which rings true to my own dream that “I want my Ibu Pertiwi now and this one, we definitely cannot wait”. There is no superhero in this world – just us normal, ordinary people who could make a difference if we wanted to. Let’s ACT NOW!

*p.s. ALIRAN is the oldest human rights group in Malaysia, which produces ALIRAN Monthly, Malaysia's leading independent English-language news magazine. For a mere RM30 a year, they will deliver a copy to your doorstep every month.

p.s.s. It is timely that we support ALIRAN as our Ibu Pertiwi has just joined the League of Human Trafficking Nations, whose membership includes the lowest of lowest nations, Zimbabwe, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Burma, Papua New Guinea, Fiji and North Korea. What a disgrace to a country of first class infrastructure and third class mentality. What have we become, my dear friends? Hm..so much about ketuanan syndrome plaguing our society, we enjoy slavery to bits. Tak percaya? We throw our litter everywhere and expecting the bangladeshi Alam Flora guys to sweep clean for us, we performed our nature calls in such an artistic way and demanding the indonesian cleaner lady to clean them up for us for a mere 30 sen we pay? Shish, are we that sicko? Tak kan?

p.s.s.s. Please God, I don't need any maids for I suffer a slight symptom of OCD.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


378th years ago, Mumtaz Mahal or The Chosen One of the Palace, passed away after giving birth to her 14th child, out in a tent while touring for her beloved husband's military campaign, where Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan fought for his empire.

Mumtaz was portrayed as the perfect wife with no aspirations to political power. She was a great influence on the Emperor, apparently often intervening on behalf of the poor and destitute.The intimacy, deep affection, attention and favour which the Emperor had for Mumtaz Mahal exceeded by a thousand times what he felt for the other two wives.

Too distraught at the loss of the unquestioned love of his life, the emperor was inconsolable and went into secluded mourning for one year - he came out with his hair turned white, his back bent, and his face worn. Thereafter, he ordered for the construction of Taj Mahal - symbol of devoted, undying love to his Mumtaz Mahal, his third wife - as one of the four promises made at Mumtaz Mahal's deathbed.

The masoleum took 22 years to finish by the greatest Moghul craftsmen available during those days - so stunning no castle in Europe could beat - and she was finally laid to rest inside the magnificient beauty 23 years after her demise. The tomb of Shah Jahan bears a calligraphic inscription that reads; "He traveled from this world to the banquet-hall of Eternity on the night of the twenty-sixth of the month of Rajab, in the year 1076 Hijri."

It is well known fact that to some people, the sight of Taj Mahal is capable to evoke such personal and emotional feeling that tears will roll down your cheeks, sobbing your longing for the true love - involuntarily - just like how poetically described by the Emperor himself, who was imprisoned by his son in Agra Fort till his death, across the city: -

"Should guilty seek asylum here
Like one pardoned, he becomes free from sin
Should a sinner make his way to this mansion
All his past sins are to be washed away
The sight of this mansion creates sorrowing sighs
And the sun and the moon shed tears from their eyes
In this world this edifice has been made
To display thereby the creator's glory"

One of the myths surrounding this beauty relates that once a year, during the rainy season, a single drop of water falls on the cenotaph, as inspired by 1913 Nobel Prize Winner Rabindranath Tagore's description of the tomb as "one tear-drop...upon the cheek of time".

Sometimes, there is this feeling - that you cannot described (what, why, when, where) but at the sight, smell or out-of-nothing-at-all could trigger such emotion, that could render you speechless, gazing emptily into the crowd, listening to the silence when two hearts longing for each other.

Longing, indeed, is beautiful.

Longing - Matthew Arnold

Come to me in my dreams, and then
By day I shall be well again!
For then the night will more than pay
The hopeless longing of the day

Come, as thou cam'st a thousand times
A messenger from radiant climes
And smile on thy new world, and be
As kind to others as to me!

Or, as thou never cam'st in sooth
Come now, and let me dream it truth
And part my hair, and kiss my brow
And say: My love! why sufferest thou?

Come to me in my dreams, and then
By day I shall be well again!
For then the night will more than pay
The hopeless longing of the day

Monday, June 15, 2009

Condolence to Mr. Duke The Whisperer

Through my short journey of blogging, I 'met' a few great men that taught me so much about life and one of them is Mr. Duke The Whisperer. Last sunday, he lost his beloved father.

Dear Mr. Duke,

May his Soul rest in peace, no longer in pain - just in better place

Death may leave a heartache no one can heal

But always remember that his love for you and your loved ones leaves a memory no one can steal

Let's Join The Power to Change - Youth Power

I like the motto of YOUTH POWER – Leadership, Philanthropy, Volunteerism, which “gives young people the opportunity to voice their opinions and make important decisions on issues that affect them. The program helps youth discover and understand the greatest needs in the community and allows them to decide how to respond”.

p.s. Based on my Latin Online Dictionary, age of youth or “Juventus” is between 20 to 40 years old, so I am still a YOUTH J because some defined youths as those between 16 to 24 years old.

I thought I want to attend “New America, One Malaysia” Forum organised by Asia Society 2 Wednesdays ago but I couldn’t find one who could ‘stomach’ Yang Berkhidmat KJ, who was one of the panel speakers.

While I read Yang Berkhidmat Tony Pua’s humble write up on the said forum, I found Andrew’s feedback as very exhilaratingly interesting, as produced here verbatim: -

Thursday, June 04, 2009

New America, One Malaysia

So I went to the Asia 21 "New America, One Malaysia" Forum at the JW Marriot.

I'm gonna go on record to say that Khairy Jamaluddin and Tony Pua should appear together at more conferences, because their charismatic and brilliant combination is lethally hilarious.

The tension, the energy, the chemistry, the electricity!

The jokes, the wisecracks, the scathing one-liners. Mmm mmm yummmy.

Khairy: "And on this panel we have a US hegemon (Jamie Metzl), an UMNO hegemon (himself), a Chinese opposition member (Tony), an Indian businessman (Premesh Chandran), and a dan lain-lain reporter (Jacqueline Ann Surin)!"

And they were great, I think, mainly because they were mutually forced to step up their game; all debaters know that you do your best when you have to, when victory is not assured, when your rival is damn good.

This was but the second time they've appeared together -- the first of which was at the Malaysian Student Leaders' Summit II, which was the highlight of the entire conference.

So good, so good.

And again, one cannot help but revisit Shanon Shah's write up on MSLS II, which also perfectly describes the situation yesterday.

1. "I think today I just witnessed an incredible snapshot of what a real Malaysian democracy would look like".

2. "It was amazing how civil and - Heaven forbid - fun the discussion was. And it was amazing how the crowd - consisting mostly of students - responded enthusiastically. With applause, laughter and even boos (again, done more in humour than to seriously humiliate the speakers onstage)".

What is also cute is that Khairy bothered to type up a huge-ass reply to Khoo Kay Peng's take on the Asia 21 Forum. Khairy is the only hope for BN lah.

I ask you this: which other BN leader has firstly the guts and secondly the ability and eloquence to spar with other civil society leaders and the opposition, and also insert himself into cyber discourse? Which other BN leader can engage, mesmerize, and inspire the youth? Which other BN leader has seen the writing on the wall and knows that if they don't change, they will die? 一个也没有。

Well, maybe Shabery Cheek and Shahrir Samad lah. Alas, they are but a distinct minority in UMNO.


Just to let you know, i chanced upon Andrew's post on his visit to recently concluded PAS Muktamar. He must be one well-balanced Youth I've ever come across. Yes, Andrew is a also chinese lad.

p.s. Dear Andrew, if you are reading this, you are an angel my dear! My best wishes to you!

The very reason why i want to raise this matter is that society, most of the time, look down on us youths, thinking we could only talk and show our angers. They don't take us seriously when we share our views. They are reluctant to listen to our new ideas of doing things or handling people. They still treat us like kids, where you are not allowed to speak your mind for they know best.

This syndrome infects not just our political scenes, it never fails to dominate our corporate world too (maybe not to some where youth is associated with great, viable ideas). Perhaps, this explains why we are so way behind The Little Red Dot, where the old wise men work hand in hand with the young guns.

"It is the youth who sees a great opportunity hidden in just these simple services, who sees a very uncommon situation, a humble position, who gets on in the world" - Orison Swett Marden

Well, i am not saying that our senior citizens are not up to the challenge to make changes nowadays but they are, of course, are physiologically and psychologically challenged, which makes it difficult for one to embrace changes.

Over last weekend, Pak Busu shared a conversation he had with his Italian patient (so Godfather-like he seemed) - "For a smart (old) man like you, you forgot to apply your business acumen when dealing with your health". In other words, he (the patient) is not innovative enough to apply certain rules of life - in total - for fear of failing. We, the young guns, take challenges as if they are to be taken on in order to survive and move forward by making changes, where necessary, instead of 'sweeping them under the carpet".

Marcus Tullius Cicero says that "Rashness belongs to youth and prudence to old age". Yes, I do agree but that doesn't mean we should be neglected. Why don't we 'walk hand in hand' through this road less travelled?

I would love to see youths are being appreciated for what they see in the present, what they wish for the future and what they are willing to do. And yes, I wish for YB KJ and YB Tony Pua to have their own talk show, just like the lively, open forum they had 2 weeks ago.

When we open the channel for healthy exchange of opinions and ideas like that, we would realise that we are not that different after all - differences are for us to embrace, understand and go for a win-win stand. It doesn't take ages to make you wise and more humane, all we, youths, need is our Moment of Truth.

"Don't make excuses. Make things happen. Make changes. Then, make history" - Doug Hall

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Along Came Polly, Penang and Rain

Along Came Polly

"Reuben Feffer thinks he's found the love of his life but on his honeymoon he discovers her cheating on him with a scuba instructor. Reuben travels back home to get his life on track. On a night out with best pal, Sandy Lyle, Reuben discovers an old school friend, Polly Prince. Reuben feels a connection straight away, and tries constantly to get her to like her. But it's not going to be easy for Reuben, especially when he spends his days calculating risks, and when someone unexpected turns up - Written by FilmFanUK "

Heck no, I didn't watch that movie today. A kitten of 3-4 months old paid a visit to this house. After a quick check, it's a she - "Along Came Polly" sprang to my mind. So, I'd call her Polly if I obtained my parents' approval (plus Mulan's) to keep her around the house in due course (please, please, pleaseeee).

Penang Came to Me

Then, Chu, Pak Busu and Lisa drove down from PG to fetch Nadhirah, who just started her 2-week semester break from college. Along came Penang, when Chu brought over "Penang" (berbakul-bakul) in the form of varieties of food for breakfast (nasi lemak, crab and tuna spicy fiery, cheesy sandwiches plus roti kahwin with our kuih bakar and cucur udang) to lunch (rojak buah, kari kepala ikan, 3 types of lauk nasi kandar with big tumbler of papadum).

So, I was not up to 'Cinderella Slavery' standard today (only heavy-duty dishwashing and cleaning up). A trip up to PG is highly recommended by Pak Busu within the next 2 weeks for Balik Pulau durians, which are declared as prohibited items in Pak Busu's car (hence, we didn't get doubly intoxicated with the absence of the durians. Still, we had it in the form of my sis' serawa durian).

I must mention here that people could get very enterprising nowadays. In PG, you could even buy sambal belacan in a small plastic container. Chu had brought along our second serving today. I wonder if we are so damn busy, even sambal belacan must be bought instead of pounded in our own kitchen. As for my family, it only makes cameo apperance for laksa johore and occasions like these, while some of us have to take the likes of Clarityne/Zyrtec/Simtec before enjoying it. Chu even told me that we must go to Balik Pulau market on our next trip - this simple old town with its friendly people, selling all kinds of food and not forgetting the already-fried keropok in bigggg packets and fresh jeruk limau.

So, do you have any ideas on what our small traders could sell to us, city people? Let's bring back the heavenly, simplistic products that remind us of the good ol' times. What would be yours?

Raindrops Came Falling Down on My Head

Along came the rain, after a very long spell of 'drought' (shish..i must get them to change name of this place from PA to Lembah A, it is surrounded by hills, the clouds couldn't get through them) and it was even better when we were having our vanilla ice cream topped with loads of fresh cherry - Yummy.

Alhamdulillah for the rain - while my garden is well watered (some are even over ..ops :), many more trees out there have been water-less for weeks. It must be so refreshing for them today.

The pleasure of thinking (or knowing) too much

It makes me think awhile. While we are being reminded to help to cut down our water consumption (err, in my house will be quite a challenge as we do have (too) many greens to 'hydrate'), would we neglect the needs of these plants? Would we let them die? Would we even stop planting them? I always believe having more greens will put our Mother Nature in better position to curb the ever-increasing threats of global warming.

I even wonder why we need to pay a significant amount of money for clean water and electricity? Is it because our operators are technically- challenged (they can't turn the polluted water sources into crystal, clear water or they simply can't think out of the box, relying much on coals and petro-products to keep their generators going), or they have cut down their R&D, QA/QC and Maintenance & Replacmement budget to reward their shareholders?

Come to think again, i feel sorry, maybe more towards cheated by these operators - Malaysia has all it takes to provide cheap clean water and electricity - thanks to our climate, location and topography - but why can't we?

My hands are tied - more water for the plants, more energy to produce more water, more pollution in the process - I might end up bringing our Mother Nature to premature death.

Anyway, along came Polly, Penang and Rain - that make my day!

p.s. No, no, no..i shall look into the matter of providing cheap water and electricity in due course. For instance, look at what happened to Sultan Mizan's Stadium - for all the great architects and engineers we have in Malaysia - what went wrong? So, for all the technologies and expertise available, what went wrong with these operators?
Updated 17 June 2009
Retrospective approval from my parents was denied, hence, Polly has found a new 'home' at nearby shoplots. I feel so sad because being alone, she needs someone to look after her but it is unfair to expect my parents to 'train' her while i'm at work. Yes, they did that years ago but at their age now, this is the best decision for them. I have seen stray cats here and there wherever i go, so my mom, always an angel, made a good suggestion a few weeks back that we should keep a bag of cat food in the car so we could feed the hungry ones out there...

Friday, June 12, 2009

Things I Learn from Cats

There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats – Albert Schweize

Women, poets, and especially artists, like cats; delicate natures only can realize their sensitive nervous systems – Helen Winslow

Cats are intended to teach us that not everything in nature has a function – Joseph Wood Krutch

Women and cats will do as they please and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea – Robert A. Heinlein

How you behave toward cats here below determines your status in Heaven – Robert A. Heinlein

Beware of people who dislike cats – Irish Saying

The cat is above all things, a dramatist – Margaret Benson

Dogs have owners, cats have staff – Anon

Your cat will never threaten you popularity by barking at 3am. He wont attack the mail man and eat the drapes, although he may climb the drapes to see how the room looks from the ceiling – Helen Powers

Cats are magical, the more you pet them the longer you both live – Anon

By associating with the cats one only risks being rich – Sidonie Gabrielle

Curiosity killed the cat but satisfaction brought it back – Eugene O’Neill

A cat has absolute emotional honesty, human beings, for one reason or another, may hide their feelings but a cat does not – Ernest Hemingway

When my cats aren’t happy, I’m not happy. Not because I care about their mood but because I know they’re just sitting there thinking up ways to get even – Percy Bysshe Shelley

Cat people are different, to the extent that they generally are not conformists. How could they be, with a cat running their lives? – Louis Camuti

The cat lives alone, has no need of society, obeys only when she pleases, pretends to sleep that she may see more clearly and scratches everything on which she can lay her paw – Francois R. Chateaubriand

Watch a cat when it enters a room for the first time. It searches and smells about, it is not quiet for a moment; it trusts nothing until it has examined and made acquaintance with everything – Jean-Jacques Rosseau

p.s. After reading these quotes, I have this to say - "correct, correct, correct my dear cat". Thanks Mr Lingam for this famous quote :)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I Did(n't) See My Real Mr. Arsene Wenger ;(

My Real Mr. Arsene Wenger, said that he will see us
(yours truly and all of you out there)
during World Cup in South Africa next year :)

My mom gave birth to my brother after 10 good months of pregnancy and i escorted her to the delivery room that fateful morning. Being ever curious, even as a toddler, i peeked through the window, standing on a bench. I heard the Doc asked my mom to push harder (well, as my brother was so huge - thanks to a month extra long in my mom's comfy womb during bulan puasa at my Atok's house (read: too many desserts to enjoy every single day)) and after that, there he was out, all green and slimy, too huge and too loud - yucks la that baby brother of mine the first time i saw him in the Doc's hands. My mom was really an angel as she didn't shout or tried to strangle the nurses standing next to her during the delivery process compared to a few other mommies in that big, big room - yes, they were wailing and my mom told me that the nurses responded to them by saying "buat tak sakit" (err...hope you get that sarcastic joke as i cannot confirm that).

Ok, actually, i was trying to stress the wailing part of the above snippet. Well, this morning, my colleagues thought i was one - wailing that is (not pregnant ok, maybe not with a baby but body fat?). That got them running (err..not that fast anyway as i could be in deep coma by the time they reach me :) soooooo exaggerating of me (i like!)).

Thanks to my ignorance and not reading The Star (it could cause allergy reaction to my naive, innocent mind) or log on to my FB (aiyoo..so lazy la) - I didn't get to see my Real Mr. Arsene Wenger (anyway, not the real one is on my blogroll ;) , yesterday morning at Dataran Merdeka (So near yet so far :_ _(. To rub salts to my open, gangrenous wounds, my Selangor Omnibus drives through the road between St. Mary Anglican Cathedral and the Royal Selangor Club - every day. OK la, i must comfort myself that i didnt' get to see the "Castrol Arsene Wenger Asia Tour" banner but i did see big trucks and people being busy around that spot - aiyaaa! Sakit hati betul la! (No, no, no..i never cursed myself except "bertuah la saya ni" :)

While shedding some tears (yes, im a cry baby, still at this dino-age), i googled and there he was - all lanky, smiley and friendly my real Mr. Arsene Wenger. Ohhhhhh..... (please let me ohhs and aahhhss at him). I stumbled upon Aizuddin's blog here. He's NST's photographer at the PC. Guess, i should settle for the next best thing - pictures of him and words from his mouth (gosh, his intelligence really excites me), my real Mr. Arsene Wenger :)))))))))))))

These are a couple of his quotes that melted my heart, as always, during his PC: -

“They wanted to get more involved with football and I wasn’t too bad of an ambassador for them,” said Wenger, who helped to develop the “Castrol Index” last year – a definitive system to rate the world’s best players. The Castrol Index uses the latest technology to objectively analyse and rank player performance.

"English Premier League Club, Arsenal's team manager Arsene Wenger said it is vital and crucial to produce quality coaches who will then create and produce quality players. "The raw material is everywhere in the world but it depends on how much had been invested to produce quality coaches".

“I relax when I’m not personally involved with the team. In Europe, we have a game on television almost every night. I can just enjoy the football without the stress of winning or losing,” he said.

So guys, next time if he's coming around, i beg you please, please, please let me know, pleaseee? ***wink*wink*wink*** For him, ain't no mountain high enough, ain't no river wide enough (to the tune of Marvin Gaye).

Well, it is surely good to 'talk' (nope, i don't get any commission from TM for this free ads). To my real Mr. Arsene Wenger, Good Luck, God Bless, wherever you are (i could give him a bear hug right?:)

p.s. You may call this post too 'mengada' but do I care? (please fill in the blanks or email if you think your reply would be too caustic for my 'innocent blog' ;). Moral of this story - read the fine prints FIRST before you read ;)

Monday, June 8, 2009

White House's Mom In Chief

I marvel at Mrs. Obama, as much as I admire her hubby - not on the ticket of classic, stylish yet affordable wardrobe she wears or because she's the First Lady to the US of America - the most powerful nation in this world (as for now, perhaps, as China may clinche the coveted title in few years down the road).

I am more drawn towards the beautiful human side of hers and what she has brought to the White House as she is now its Mom in Chief.

Here are a few snippets from The TIME's "The Meaning of Michelle Obama" that makes me wishing for more First Ladies like her: -

"The White House became as much Michelle Obama's stage as her husband's even before she colored the fountains green for St. Patrick's Day, or mixed the Truman china with the World's Fair glasses at a state dinner, or installed beehives on the South Lawn, or turned the East Room into a jazz lounge for a night or sacrificed her first sock to the First Puppy. Of all the revelations of her first 100 days, the most striking was that she made it seem natural. She did not spend decades dreaming of this destination, and maybe that's the secret. "I'm not supposed to be here," she says again and again. And ever since she arrived, she has been asking, "What are the things that we can do differently here, the things that have never been done, the people who've never seen or experienced this White House?"

"She's always shown a shrewd eye for the strategic detour, suspending her career in favor of helping her husband get elected, then getting her daughters settled and her garden planted and, in the process, disarming the critics who cast her as a black radical in a designer dress. She will say she's just doing what comes naturally. But whether by accident or design, or a little of both, she has arrived at a place where her very power is magnified by her apparent lack of interest in it"

"She is expected to represent an ideal — and largely mythical — concept of American womanhood"

"The question now is what she plans to do with all this attention. We ask the usual questions of any new First Lady: What is she really like? How does she see her role? But it is only of Michelle Obama that we ask, What does she mean? Few First Ladies have embedded themselves so quickly in the world's imagination. And none have traveled so far, not just from Chicago's South Side to the East Wing, but from the caricatured Angry Black Woman of last spring to her exalted status as a New American Icon, as if her arrival will magically reverse eight years of anti-American spitballing, elevate the black middle class, promote family values, give voice to the voiceless and inspire us all to live healthier, more generous lives"

I wish i could get jealous with her but a lady as nice as her, who needs enemy right? She is at the best position in this confused world - to impart her ideals of being a woman, a wife, a mother and a citizen.

And to spoil my "Take It Easy Monday', i chanced upon this joke here.

Well, with the chunk of bling bling to match designer wardrobe (dari hujung rambut sampai ke hujung kaki), getting plump (Yes, I am being extremely polite here) and smiley, chaffeured-driven (and not forgetting the free riders at my disposal), I would definitely enjoy myself doing my works (err, kerja apa ek? Jalan2, makan2 tu kerja ke? Anybody that has this kind of job to offer, please email me ok?;)

Ouch, macam langit dengan bumi, kan?

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Vanilla's Health Benefits, not Just Bon Appetit

My favourite spice, Vanilla, is an essential ingredient widely used in both commercial and domestic baking, perfume manufacture and aroma therapy for which there is no true substitute. The flavour of real vanilla is made up of over 250 organic components, which gives it great depth and complexity, compared to only one flavor component in artificial vanilla.

The Myth on its Origin

The first to cultivate vanilla were the Totonac people, who inhabited the Mazantla Valley on the Gulf Coast of Mexico in the present-day state of Veracruz. According to Totonac mythology, the tropical vanilla orchid was born when Princess Xanat, forbidden by her father from marrying a mortal, fled to the forest with her lover. The lovers were captured and beheaded. Where their blood touched the ground, the vine of the tropical orchid grew.

Its Major Producers

The majority of the world's vanilla that is produced is the Vanilla Planifolia variety, more commonly known as "Madagascar-Bourbon" vanilla, which is produced in a small region of the East African nation of Madagascar and in Indonesia.

Expensive Spice

Vanilla is the second most expensive spice after saffron due the extensive labor required to grow the seed pods used in its manufacture. Despite the expense, it is highly valued for its flavour, which author Frederic Rosengarten, Jr. described in The Book of Spices as "pure, spicy, and delicate" and its complex floral aroma depicted as a "peculiar bouquet.

For me, the aroma of vanilla is simply, heavenly innocent, that reminds me of sweet memories of my childhood. It smells like happiness, it makes you one too.

While it is always associated as one of potent aphrodisiacs (OMG, have i been misled), vanilla has more than just benefits to our gastronomy, you must read the following article from "Organic Facts - Your Gateway to Unbiased Information" to see how we can benefit from vanilla on our health front: -

1. Anti Oxidant: This property alone can take care of most of your problems. I do not know whether you are aware of it or not, but oxidation is one of the biggest causes behind most of our troubles and diseases. It is directly and indirectly responsible for a number of diseases caused by organic malfunctions and infections. Oxidizers or free-radicals cause oxidation of the living cells and tissues and burn them to death. Gradually, this result in weakening of the immunity, loss of memory, organic and nervous malfunctioning, gradual loss of vision & hearing, mental instability, macular degeneration etc. and the body becomes prone to diseases. The anti oxidant property of Vanilla Essential Oil neutralizes these free radicals and protects the body from wears and tears, infections and even some forms of cancer, such as those of prostrate, colon etc. It also repairs the damages already done to the body.

2. Aphrodisiac: A systematic administration of Vanilla Essential Oil to the patients of impotency, erectile dysfunction, frigidity, loss of libido etc. can relieve them of their problems, and it is well proven. This oil stimulates secretion of certain hormones like testosterone, estrogen etc. which help bring about normal sexual behavior and promotes arousal.

3. Anti Carcinogenic: To some extent, the anti carcinogenic property of Vanilla Oil comes from its anti oxidant properties. The free radicals or oxidants do not only damage tissues, but can also cause certain type of cancers, such as those in prostrate, colon etc. Certain components Essential Oil of Vanilla checks growth of cancerous cells, thereby helping cure cancer.

4. Febrifuge: The vanilla oil can effectively reduce fever by fighting infections due to presence of components like Eugenol and Vanillin Hydroxybenzaldehyde in it. Being a sedative, it also reduces inflammation due to fever (Anti Phlogistic would be the right word for it) and this also contributes to reducing fever.

5. Anti Depressant: You were sitting alone, depressed. Then somebody brings you a vanilla ice cream or a vanilla flavored drink, you have that and lo! The depression is gone! You start feeling pleased, satisfied and get into mood. This is one of the biggest advantages of vanilla aroma (better if it is real vanilla, but synthetic Vanilla or artificially synthesized Vanillin Hydroxybenzaldehyde works good too) that it makes you happy. The flavor alone is so pleasingly sweet and soothing that everybody, ranging from toddlers to centurions, likes it. Vanillin Hydroxybenzaldehyde, a component of Vanilla Essential Oil, is an effective anti depressant and mood up-lifter.

6. Sedative: The Essential Oil of Vanilla soothes. It soothes all types of inflammations and hyperactivity in all the systems functioning in our body, namely, the respiratory system, circulatory system, digestive system, nervous system and the excretory system. It sedates inflammation due to fever, convulsions, anxiety, stress, hypersensitivity of allergy etc.

7. Tranquilizing: Vanilla Essential Oil helps you get a sound sleep too. This is due to the sedative and relaxing properties of this oil. It lowers blood pressure and has a sort of tranquilizing effect on the brain too, and you cannot keep you eyelids open anymore. All you see then is your bed and pillows.

8. Relaxing: This oil has a relaxing and calming effect on the brain and the nerves and gives relief from anxiety, anger, restlessness etc.

9. Other Benefits: It helps regularize menstruations (although not exactly an emenagogue) by activating certain hormones like estrogen.