A Travellerspoint blog

Tomorrow I will Fly

The Beginning Of Nepal Trip

semi-overcast 33 °C


Tomorrow I will fly.

I have only one more day tomorrow before I begin to leave the office for 2 months. I’m leaving to Nepal for a backpack trip. The day I waited has arrived.

My sister gave me a gift for this trip - a new model camera, Panasonic HD Lumix DMC-GF6. My old camera, the only one I had, was an old Nikon DSLR. The old digital-single-lens camera was nowhere retrievable anymore when it was tossed away in the middle of my trip in southern India in 2013, when psychologically I was crashed with a traumatic incident due to schizophrenia.

In all my trips, I had used my old Nikon camera and I knew my camera inside out. I may have received the gift of this new camera from my sister 3 weeks ago, but I have not taken a single shot using this new camera. I am not a technology enthusiast like many technophile big boys out there who can turn inside out any technology gadgets and tools they have in their hands. I am an adult version who has a strong disinclination to delve with technology gadgets. I am not usually aroused by the big boy toys. To me, exploring a new electronic gadget means I have to scratch my head and spend more time to understand how the complex electronic machine works.

Of all the stuff I filled into my backpack, apart from the mobile phone, the new camera is the only expensive item of all. I keep the camera in the smaller daypack and all other stuff in the other larger backpack. That being said, I can trash my larger backpack to the corner wherever I go.

I try to pack my stuff as light as possible. I go for the lightest mode possible, but I still ended up packing with a total weight of a 10kg burden. I am figuring out how to remove more items from the backpack. I intend to carry the load on the back myself when I trek, and I am thinking of how to shed more weights from the backpack. The books I carried in the backpack are disposable loads. As and when I read them, I intend to store them at the teahouse. This will help me to shed some pounds away from the backpack.

I am going to the airport by the airport train in the evening after I return home from the office tomorrow.

I’ll be returning to Malaysia on 4th October.


the writer - reading while taking joy in eating the mango fruits at Lumbini in Nepal during summer in 2014

Posted by Quah Khian Hu 08:10 Archived in Malaysia Comments (0)

The Indian Chapati

A Chapati That Does Not Puff Up

overcast 33 °C


At home, we mostly eat vegetarian meals. When I cook chickpeas and masala dhal in all vegetarian, the meal does not seem complete without having to serve with some flatbread chapati. So, I decided to make some chapati. I asked Zul for the recipe and ways to make a proper chapati.

I had several times making some chapati at home. The flatbread chapati that I made, when heated up on the hot pan, it doesn’t puff up but it only gets spots of blackening surface during the heating process.

Supposedly, when a flattened dough sheet is heated up on the hot pan, the chapati should at first puff up like a whoopee cushion. Then, the dough that had been puffed up will only begin to accumulate some scorched spots on its surface due to the heating process over the hot pan. Unless the chapati is puffed up, we will not get a soft chapati. A ready cooked chapati that has a hard texture is a show of lacking skills in making a proper Indian flatbread. The end product of chapati that I made is always hard in its textures.

I am trying to reason out why the chapati that I make does not puff up like any given guidance shown on the youtube. Every piece of the flattened dough heated up by them on the hot pan, the dough will puff up very effortlessly. Looking back at my chapati, I may have missed out some very essential techniques in making a proper Indian flatbread.

Because the chapati that I make tends not to puff up, I need to heat them up longer over the hot pan in order to dry up the water contents of the bread dough and most importantly to make sure the dough is well cooked. I ended up not only making some pieces of partially burned chapati but I have had hard texture chapati too. When I serve the chapati that I made, I have to peel off the scorched spots of the partially burned surface of the chapati before I put them on the table.

The Indian grocery store attendant recommended me the atta flour to make chapati. There are other types of flour eligible to make chapati but atta flour is the best-recommended wheat flour. The atta flour is also used to make other types of Indian flatbread such as nan and puri.

When I make chapati, instead of using a standard measurement cup, I measured the atta flour with a rice bowl normally used for dinner by the Chinese householders. Two full bowls of attar flour after kneading it with some oil, salt and mixing it with water, the kneaded dough is broken into 10 smaller pieces of dough balls and they are adequate to make 10 pieces of flat chapati for a meal for my family.

Over in the kitchen drawer, we keep a rolling pin. This rolling pin is a huge wooden roller normally used to roll a thick pizza dough. I tried to use this rolling pin to roll over the chapati dough balls. Due to the incomparable size of the huge and heavy rolling pin with the tiny nugget dough balls, with my only one most gentle stroke, the heavy rolling pin flattened off the dough making the nugget dough balls completely out of shape. I do not get a circular piece of flattened dough sheet but instead, I had an out-of-shape chapati dough. I do improvise the use of this heavy and huge rolling pin with a smaller glass bottle.

I have some culinary lessons to learn before I can make a proper puffing chapati bread. I will keep trying to make chapati until one day, I make a puffy chapati.


Posted by Quah Khian Hu 01:50 Archived in Malaysia Comments (0)

Eating Legumes

Cooking Chickpeas In The Indian Style

sunny 35 °C


As a child, I love to eat boiled Indian chickpeas.

Being a Chinese family, the chickpeas and other legumes have never been listed as one of the buying items written on our grocery list. We had a stereotypical belief that only the Indians eat chickpeas.

When I was still a boy, buying the boiled chickpeas from the Indian street peddler for as little as 20 sen, I will get some boiled chickpeas wrapped in newspaper folded up in a cone. Even if we paid a little more, we still couldn’t have enough of boiled chickpeas to share out among our siblings. So, one day, we decided to buy the chickpeas from the grocery store and try to boil it ourselves.

The chickpeas bought from the grocery store were dried, and they were as hard as a rock. We threw all the chickpeas into the cooking pot, lighted the stove fire and began to boil them. After an hour, we did not find any tenderness in the chickpeas boiling on the stove fire. So, we boiled the chickpeas over again on the stove and the boiling process made us lasted for several hours.

We boiled the chickpeas as though we had no common sense. We did not understand that the hard-rocked chickpeas bought from the store needed to be soaked before boiling them. We cannot boil the chickpeas that were delivered straight from the shelf. Boiling chickpeas was as easy as learning ABC but because we were lacking of cooking skill, we surrendered to the cooking mishap and ended up eating the uncooked, half-tendered chickpeas.

If you boil the chickpeas that are delivered straight from the shelf without having them soaked, chances are, the chickpeas will not turn soft and you will get a half-tender, half-hard chickpeas as a result. After that, no matter how you boil these chickpeas again on the stove, they will not turn tender and soft.

Colloquially, in our minor dialect, this cookery setback we called it - a muted blow. The chickpeas that have not been soaked will never be properly cooked as the chickpea pods have already suffered a muted blow.

Now, when I cook chickpeas, I soak them overnight in a pot for about 10 hours before I boiled them in the following morning. The chickpeas that have been soaked overnight will need a shorter cooking time to cook, and that the boiling process will take about 45 minutes only before I can drain the boiling water off from the pot.

I have my recipe in cooking a chickpea dish with a very archaic Hokkien style. Firstly, I stir fry the cut ring-onions in the hot oil. After which, I add soy sauce to the onions. Then, I throw all the soft-boiled chickpeas into the wok. To simmer the chickpeas, I pour plenty the soy sauce and adding some water into the wok, and let the chickpeas simmer in the wok for about 10 minutes. After that, I’ll switch off the stove fire and serve the chickpea dish.

I find cooking chickpea dishes in soy sauce is not as tasty as cooking them in the Indian style using spices. After all, the chickpeas are considered one of the staple foods in the Indian diet. The Indians know well their way in cooking their staple diet than we are, the non-Indians.

I have many times cooked the chickpea meals in the Indian style with some add on spices. I love the aroma of the cumin seeds after frying them in the wok, but my family members do not find the strong aroma of the cumin seeds a pleasure.

I do not store spices in the cabinet. I do not normally cook our dishes at home with spices. Like any ordinary Chinese family, the amount of spices, especially the Indian spices, used in our home cooking is extremely rare. Of the variable types of Indian spices like turmeric, cumin, fennel, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and star anise and etc, only one spice is commonly used by the Chinese in their cooking. It is the star anise. The star anise is usually used in the Chinese cooking to stew the loin pork in the pot for additional aroma.

Using the same Indian spices, I also cook dhal, a dish made of red lentils. When I cook dhal, I use plenty of cumin seeds, turmeric powder and green chillies. I also add to the boiling lentils with some fennel and a little amount cinnamon. Cooking lentils with such spices, the pungent aroma coming out from the cooking pot fills the air, and I feel I am cooking in the kitchen of an Indian house. When my father eats the dhal, he likes the dish and he has no complaints about the pungent aroma of the spices I threw into the pot of the dhal.

Eat more spices, they are healthy.

star anise, bunga lawang

star anise, bunga lawang

cardamom, buah pelaga

cardamom, buah pelaga

cinnamon, kayu manis

cinnamon, kayu manis

turmeric, serbuk kunyit

turmeric, serbuk kunyit

cloves, bunga cengkih

cloves, bunga cengkih

fennel, jintan manis

fennel, jintan manis

cumin, jintan putih

cumin, jintan putih

Posted by Quah Khian Hu 07:07 Archived in Malaysia Comments (0)

The Old Brass Tray

Finding Uniqueness In Using An Old Brass Tray

semi-overcast 33 °C


When I eat an Indian meal that is served on a rice tray, I will remember the meals I ate at a little motel in Narayangarh when I was in Nepal. This little motel itself has a distinctive way in serving its food very differently from others.

In Sri Lanka or India, when we travel in these countries, it is appropriately known to us that when we eat, we eat with a rice tray that is made of stainless steel. We do not normally use any trays made of brass.

However, this little motel is different.They use brass trays to serve the meals. That was my first time I ate a meal served on a brass tray.

I asked the waiter, “Do you serve everyone using this type of brass tray?” I added on, “I mean, this unique brass tray?”

My finger was pointing to the brass tray filled with rice, laid on the table by the waiter where I sat.

The waiter looked at me without saying a word.

I took a closer look at the brass tray. I found the brass tray already has a darkened surface on it, and it must have been an old brass used by the kitchen over a past long period. Its surface has taken on a green and brown patina and it has lost its shiny golden colour due to the oxidation and its antiquing process. This piece of an old brass tray in the darkened colour, has not been polished shining, I called it a classic antique. I like a kitchen brassware in its darkened colour than the shiny golden one.

The darkened colour of a kitchen brassware is itself showing its age. In some households, the old age kitchen brasswares have been well in use for a long period, and they are passed down from a generation to another. Many householders keep their old age kitchen brasswares as a show of love and affection resembling the mother's love for her daughter. The brasswares will be passed down from the mother to her daughter and when the daughter becomes a mother herself, she will pass the inherited kitchen brasswares to her daughter. It is all about a feminine, mother-daughter sentiment in this inherit take over.

My gesture had already acclaimed my words, “Wow! You serve a rice meal in such a rarely found old brass tray. People rarely use brass trays now, but you have a classic antique here. I have not used one like this before.”

The waiter was taken aback a little upon hearing how I acclaim they owned a collection of rare, classic and antique old kitchen brass trays and different from others.

To him, he saw no uniqueness in these old brass trays and there was nothing for me to shout about. The old brass trays have been just a huge chunk of alloy metal littered in the kitchen of their restaurant. Day in, day out, they used the same brass trays and they did not find using them any special.

Seeing his response, I laughed at myself quietly for over showing an admiration on their possession of the old brass trays kept in their restaurant. The waiter only watched at me, scratching his head, trying to understand why I see them special.

In Malaysia, being a householder of a Chinese community, I do not get a chance to use a tray at home, lest talk about the use of a rice tray that is made of brass. Given a choice, I would like to eat my meals using an Indian rice tray. In Narayangarh, when I was eating, I used my hand to pick the vegetables and scoop the rice from the old brass tray, as if I have gone back to the Vedic times in the old age. Eating with my hand is an ancient etiquette and using an old classic rice tray to eat is also absolutely ancient.

I wanted to go again to Narayangarh, for one reason - because I wanted to eat my meals serving on that old classic brass tray.
Maya Garne Ko -by Narayan Gopal


Posted by Quah Khian Hu 05:31 Archived in Malaysia Comments (0)

Vegetarianism Versus Masculinity

Eat No Meat

semi-overcast 33 °C


I am not a meat eater. In my daily meals, I observe a dietary constraint. I do not eat beef, pork or poultry. Sometimes, I only eat a little amount of fish. In the Wikipedia, a person who eats no meat but fish is known as a pesco-vegetarian. I am one of them. At some point during my 30s, I noticed my eating habit had by a progressing degree took a drastic change. I try to avoid eating fish too, and confined myself to be a vegetarian.

As a child, I had an innate hereditary that was deep-rooted in me, naturally stopped myself from eating meat. I stayed away from meat because the butchered meat produces and discharges an unpleasant smell. When someone prepares a meat dish in the pot, and because of the smell of meat, it makes me nauseous and chokes me in the throat. If the smell of the meat is too strong to bear, my nasal will easily get congested and make me feel wanted to throw up from the stomach. It all happens beyond my control.

When I was a child, I remembered I nearly spewed a vomit when I chewed a small piece of barbecued pork. That was my first and last attempt I remembered I ate pork. It was my aversion, a horror episode in eating pork.

I also have a disinclination in eating chicken too. When I was younger, I ate only the lean piece of breast meat, and unless it has been fried in the hot oil so to hide its smell. A piece of chicken that has not been fried in the hot oil will have a discharge of the smell of meat. I can’t swallow the piece of chicken that bore the smell of chicken. It sounded weird, I will only eat the chicken that did not have a chicken smell. I’ll also avoid any dishes cooked with the chicken skin attached to the meat. I was highly watchful from eating the chicken skin. There are people who showed a great like to munch the crispy-fried chicken skin, but not me. To me, literally, the chicken skin is the outer jacket that covers the chicken and it has the most sebum glands that produce an unpleasant smell of the poultry.

I love any type of vegetarian food, so particularly I love Indian food. I love the Indian food served by the Hindus in the ashrams and temples for a simple reason. They serve a pure vegetarian food. I feel at ease eating the food they cook. One thing is for sure, there is no squirting of blood due to the butchering of animals in their kitchen. There are also no cutting up meat and butchering bones on their chopping board. The pungent cumin seeds, the sweet cinnamon, the mellowing fennel, the cloves and the hot chili added to the aroma of the vegetarian meals serve by them.

Unlike the vegetarian food served by the Hindus, the Chinese have the most variety of food cooked with pork and its lard. I have been avoiding going to the food court run by the Chinese food operators lately.

I detest pigs. I will be scared-to-death if you get me to make a hand contact with the pigs. I can’t stand to see its snout with its projecting nose and mouth that blow a viscous secretion dripping out from its snout. Pig is immensely a filthy animal. This filthy animal eats its feces and smears its body with its own feces. I find it disgusting let alone man butchers pigs for its meat.

I have a few colleagues in the previous job who have a great loving in eating the pig’s innards boiled in the herbal soup. I find eating the pig’s innards dreadfully horrible. Once, while having a lunch with them, I was served with the pig’s innards. It was an unintentional act by them to put me into a blunder embarrassment and I knew, I’d rather gnaw my own arm off than gobbled the pig’s innards down into my stomach. My ex-colleagues found no comprehension why I confine to vegetarian diets, at the same time I also found no understanding why can they gobble down into their stomach such horrible internal organs of the pigs.

On another occasion when I was with my ex-colleagues at a restaurant, I was already a non-meat eater and they have a laughed in my face to reckon how does a man eat no meat. Being a non-meat eater for a man is a difficult ground principle for him to observe. It is not usual for a man to confine his diets with only greens without meat. Most of the men will eat to a pound of meat in a day. It is a perception of the men, eating meat is a macho trait and being labelled hunky, and being a non-meat eater, is a man associated with less masculine.

I try to join the crowd in the office for lunch, but it had been a tiring toleration for me to accommodate to people every day because I eat a different diet. So, I decided to go for lunch alone. When I was still engaged with the previous job at Jalan Raja Chulan, I took the privilege to have my lunch at the Shridi Sai Baba centre. The centre is a 10-minute walk from my office. A bit after 1.00 pm, I would walk to the centre. After everyone had attended the midday prayer lead by the swami, the rice-pot, a huge one, will be opened and the attendants of the kitchen will serve the rice meal. They served all vegetarian dishes. I enjoyed the vegetarian meals served at the centre. I call it - the happy meal, because the meals I ate were prepared in plain and simple style, very austere but tasty and healthy, served with an add-on of the Indian spices that I like.
Jhareko Paat by Narayan Gopal


Posted by Quah Khian Hu 00:27 Archived in Malaysia Comments (0)

Ringgit, The Non-Tradable Currency

Ringgit Is Traded In Kathmandu

semi-overcast 33 °C


It is unexpected and unusual to know that, in Kathmandu, Ringgit is accepted for trade against the Nepalese Rupee by the licensed money changers. The Ringgit is standing side-by-side with currencies from other countries and having its exchange rates exhibited on the currency boards of the licensed money changers.

Since 1998 and after the announcement made by the Bank Negara to peg the Ringgit against US Dollar at RM3.80, and following that year’s East Asian financial crisis, the Ringgit was made a non-tradable currency outside Malaysia.

When Bank Negara announced the end of the peg to the US Dollar in 2005, the rule to abstain the Ringgit from being traded outside Malaysia had not been relaxed and remain unchanged.

It simply means, foreign banks and money changers will not change the Ringgit to any destination currency of any countries even when there is a demand. When a currency is labeled as a non-tradable currency, logically you can’t spend the currency in any country other than the issuance country. In other words, the currency would not be accepted and it will be rejected if you try to spend them elsewhere overseas.

I went to Nepal with Zul in the summer of 2014. It was my first trip to Nepal. Several days before my departure to Nepal, I withdrew some money from the ATM machine and I exchanged them with the currency trader for US Dollars. In my backpacking money pouch, I only kept several pieces of banknotes in Ringgit that made up a sum of less than RM100. I did not carry any extra Ringgit in the money pouch.

I thought to myself, “There is no need to withdraw extra cash from the ATM machine, after all, the Ringgit will not be accepted in Nepal”.

I was wrong.

When I was in Kathmandu, I only realised the Ringgit was widely traded in Nepal. The Nepalis have a vast initiative to collect the Ringgit as a major source of foreign currency they earned in Malaysia. Many Nepalis look up to Malaysia as a popular destination for work. As they earn the Ringgit, they send the money home. The Ringgit may not be traded in countries outside Malaysia, but in Nepal, the Ringgit is a vast traded currency among themselves. There is always a black market for Ringgit in Nepal. Many of them have their earned Ringgit exchanged to the Nepalese Rupees in the black market with the black market traders.

There is a demand for Ringgit in Nepal. I choose to bring Ringgit in my money pouch now instead of US Dollars, and I may save some conversion commission. I’ll retain only a few pieces of US Dollars in the money pouch. Sometimes, the US Dollars are made a compulsory currency, so peculiar that we are being insisted to make a payment with the dollars. Otherwise, the Ringgit will be my primary banknotes carrying with me in this coming trip to Nepal.

Before I left for the trip to Nepal in 2014, I tried to find a money changer at Jalan Masjid India to exchange the Ringgit I withdrew from the ATM machine. I wanted to buy some Nepalese Rupees. Jalan Masjid India is the area one can find many money changers along the street. There is a vast choice for selection at Jalan Masjid India.

I hopped into many money changer booths but very few offered to sell Nepalese Rupees. Nepalese Rupees were almost not traded here due to lack of demand. I managed to find one money changer, but I was offered a cheap rate. He offered to me - RM1 to NR21. It was not a proper rate to close a deal. In Kathmandu, for an outright exchange of Nepalese Rupee from Ringgit, they sold their rupees for a favourable rate, as high as NR28 or NR29. There was a vast difference in the offered rate if I buy Nepalese Rupees in Kathmandu.

In Kathmandu, Zul purchased a sum of Nepalese Rupees by selling off the Ringgit he held in hands. He had the advantage to negotiate for a better exchange rate than the rate already offered to him. Zul negotiated with the money changer and the money changer compromised to offer him NR30 for each Ringgit he was selling. Zul was given the rate he insisted.

Never underestimate the essence to negotiate when we trade a currency. A hike in the rate, as lean as RM0.005 does make a difference in the total amount of money we carry home from the currency trader. We have to negotiate with the trader if we purchase a bigger sum of currency from them.

I have an amount of nearly NR13,000 retained in my money belt left over from the last trip. I keep the rupees because I know I will make a trip to Nepal in another time.
Yeuta Manchhe Ko Maya Le Kati - by Narayan Gopal

Posted by Quah Khian Hu 06:41 Archived in Malaysia Comments (0)

A Mini Theory

No Haggling For A Bargain

rain 31 °C


As poverty is rampant in Nepal, many rural folks in Nepal live under 1 Dollar (RM4) a day. They live in extreme poverty. In the free-market society, capitalism leads to economic and social inequality. Many people, particularly the village folks are left out in the competition of the free-market capitalism.

I have a mini theory settling in my mind. There are ways while we travel in Nepal, we can help to bring the livelihood of the poor village folks to a higher initiative by giving them a security of support.

One of the ways we can offer help is, we make attempts to spend more money down right into the hands of the village folks in the Himalayas.

Another way is, we have to avoid haggle for any bargain with the village folks. This is a foremost rule. Bargain with the village folks is a no-no deal.

There is a limit one person can do to help improve the plight of poverty of the people in Nepal. I am only a white-collar worker and I am not a person earning a salary that flushes my pocket with cash notes. However, If I spend for my food, say a meal for RM10, or paying for my shelter, say a room for RM20, all charging by the village folks - I should not ask for a bargain. I must remember this rule when I travel.

Because the prices of food and services in Nepal are always not rated, habitually it creates a room for many people to bargain. However, I will try to avoid to haggle a bargain with the village folks. I have to accept and pay the bills as long as the prices are still kept reasonable and I am afforded to pay for it.

A dollar or two do not bloat my money pouch, but they do carry a significant weight to these village folks for them to make a living.
Parkhi Base Aula Vani - by Narayan Gopal

Posted by Quah Khian Hu 06:50 Archived in Malaysia Comments (0)

Air Ticket Is In My Hands

Fly With Biman Airlines

rain 31 °C


The moment when Stanley gave a nod for me to take a long break from work, at the drop of a hat, I logged on to the website of Biman Airlines. I wanted to find out whether the air ticket under the super saver class was still available for online purchase. I already had in mind and decided to purchase the air ticket from this airline. Air tickets assigned under the super saver class were selling fast and sold out easily. I need to purchase the air ticket from Biman Airlines very quickly so I do not miss the cheap flight. I had missed the air fair promoted by Malindo Air last week. I decided not to miss the cheap flight with Biman Airlines also.

Biman Airlines is the flag carrier of Bangladesh. It is not a common brand of the airway for many people to fly with. Unless if you intend to fly to Dhaka, otherwise it is unlikely that you may pick this airline as your choice of flying to your destination. I logged on to its website and typed my credit card details for payment. Then, the payment went through its online processes, and my credit card was charged with RM1,340 for a return ticket flying to Kathmandu.

Finally, I have the air ticket in my hands.

Flying to Kathmandu from Kuala Lumpur, I have to transit and make a stopover in Dhaka for 7 hours. After the stopover, another aircraft gets to fly everyone from Dhaka to Kathmandu. The journey altogether takes an arid 12 hours.

When I think of going to Nepal, I am completely provoked and fired-up in excitement. There is always a choice of getting a direct flight without any transit stopover, but I chose Biman Airlines. I wanted to make a stopover at the Dhaka airport. I wanted to see and visit the international airport of Dhaka. Transit with a stopover for 7 hours is not too long to dampen the spirit to travel.

I am not a window shopper and I am not fond of doing window shopping at the airport at all. I rarely buy any promotional tax-free items or gifts at the airport. In Dhaka later, I will search for a bookstore and find some books to read instead.

Once I was eager to go to Bangladesh when I was travelling in India. My intention of going to Bangladesh was quashed when I found out that in applying for a tourist visa, a traveller needed to obtain an invitation letter from a local citizen who was a known person to the traveller and also his willingness to refuge the traveller. I was able to obtain an invitation letter from a travel agency by paying them some money, but I put the idea of travelling to Bangladesh to an end after viewing its intractable process of bureaucratic paperwork with the government authority.

I expect Biman Airlines to take off from KLIA 1 as it is itself a full-service airline. KLIA 2 accommodates for airlines that are a budget in its costs and houses the low-cost carriers only. I decided not to make any call to Biman Airlines’ sales office to check for a certain, as I’ll take the airport train from KL and make a stop at KLIA 2 before going to KLIA 1 on that evening of departure to Kathmandu.

I’m leaving home on the evening of 29/7 and shall be returning home to KL on 4/10. I’ll be in Nepal for 2 months.
Kun Mandirma Janchau Yatri - by Narayan Gopal

Posted by Quah Khian Hu 06:47 Archived in Malaysia Comments (0)

My Leave Is Approved

Spiritual Complication In The Mind

rain 31 °C


My boss is an easy-going person. He is a relaxed and well tolerant person who runs the company single-handed all by himself. When I joined the company a year ago, I told him truthfully about the reason I resigned from the previous job. He was quick and responsive enough to share the empathy of the feelings why I quit the previous job.

“You work here, you would not undergo a bad time and be racked with the chest pain again caused by the extreme work stress,” my boss was speaking to me with empathy and showing his inclination of comprehension for me. He said further, “Working here, you get to compose yourself at ease. Working stress is minimal here.” He further made a point, “The company runs a small business operation, I do not see you be stressed up by the workload.”

He has spoken to me in such a convincing assertion. Working as a part-time accountant with his company, I must admit it is an appease relief to say, I have a lesser expectation and fewer demands from my boss to be fulfilled.

Two days ago, I spoke to my boss, Stanley, about my intention to go for a long break from work.

“Stanley, I intend to ask for a break from work, can I?”, I asked.

Stanley looked onward at me, but he said nothing yet.

“I intend to go for a long break from work,” I said again and I looked at him. I added, “Not going for the break now, but later.”

I did not draw a quick conclusion by simply began the conversation hastily. I avoided being too quick to mention to him of my request for 2 months break, and got rejected. I only mentioned to him - long break, without saying the leave period of 2 months. I was trying not to rouse any of his unnecessary attention. Being two months away from the office is too long for a collar employee to withdraw from the office and is not a usual withdrawal. It is also not a usual decision for an employer to approve such a long leave.

“Where are you going?” Stanley asked.

I replied, “Going to Nepal.”

“Are you going to a meditation retreat again?”, asked Stanley.

I only shook my head as a sign of giving him a response. I didn’t say anything further. I decided not to reside about any meditation matters at all with him.

I wanted to learn Hinduism. In learning religion, I’ll learn a proper meditation. I have been exploring a pursuit to search for a befitting teaching when I was backpacking in south Asia. I know well, I have a serious spiritual complication in the mind. I also have a hitch of clinical disorder residing deep in the heart. It is better for me to remain silent instead of orating about my spiritual learning with anyone. I may have reached the age of 42, but I am an undoubtedly a minor in all aspects associating with spiritual learning. And I decided not to tell Stanley any further about whether I have any intention to come to light with any meditation classes in Nepal. I remained silent.

Out of the ordinary, 8 years ago I began seeing supernatural beings in the eye of the mind and hearing voices that normally inaudible to my ears. That moment, I began to receive the prescription of medication for mental health because of the occurrences of the supernatural occult. I was distinguished with a diagnosis of schizophrenia. However, I have an irk of agitation, for me to accept, anything beyond the understanding and claim of normal sensory contact by the medical science is treated as a form of mental disorder. This is the medical dogma I find it difficult to condone.

I live in a massive internal conflict contradiction. People who learn religion believe in the existence of supernatural beings and its receptions. So do I. Because I have such a belief, I try to do away with the prescription of medicine. I feel I have a sense of being forced to swallow the medicine for mental health. Years past, I still go on with the medical prescription because I have my father who is an angry person sitting in the backyard watching and remonstrating against my every tablet I keep in the medicine box. I feel aggrieved against my father for being crude as he does not take meaning the full scenario of the occult that had arisen on me. I hold a grudge for his crudeness.

Before, I have attended several meditation retreats but I only have a scrimpy knowledge about it. Meditation is too wide a spiritual insight to grasp unless I live under a proper teaching of a guru. I had two times set away from the office to attend the meditation retreats. One from last year, I attended a 10-day retreat in Batu Pahat and later in February, I went for a Vipassana meditation course in Gambang, Kuantan. It was a 12-day retreat.

Stanley seemed to have no objection to my application for the long break. He gave a nod of yes.

He asked, “Who are you going with? With your friends?”

I replied, “I am going, one person. I am going for a long trek in Nepal.”

I have completely avoided saying words such as, meditation, retreat, and pilgrimage throughout the entire conversation with him. I only revealed to him about my intention of going for trekking in the Himalayas. I feel introverted to express any of my spiritual retreat plans.

Trekking in the Himalayas in any way is only a part of my itinerary in Nepal. I have an essence of an essential list of what to do in Nepal. I have a route in the mind of how I will go for the pilgrimage expedition and spending some time for retreats in the Himalayas. I wanted to begin the expedition from Pokhara and heading my way to the west from Pokhara over the range of Himalayas.

I gave an assurance to Stanley, saying, “I am only leaving after I have closed the 2nd quarter accounts and after we have submitted the returns for goods and services tax to the Royal Customs by 29th of July. I’ll be back on time for the 3rd quarter closing of accounts in October.”

He nodded.
Yeti Dherai Maya Diye - by Narayan Gopal

Posted by Quah Khian Hu 06:37 Archived in Malaysia Comments (0)

Air Ticket Travel Fair

I Missed The Travel Fair - Malindo Air

semi-overcast 31 °C


I missed the travel fair that offered cheap air tickets. The travel fair promoted by Malindo Air offered air tickets to everyone at a jaw-dropping price. If you intended to fly with this airline, the air tickets were sold like hot cakes at huge discounts. Tickets were selling on the internet as low as half the usual price. For some selected destinations within the region of Southeast Asia, Malindo Air was promoting its travel fair with even a greater jaw-drop boost for a mere RM9 for each ticket.

I should have grabbed a ticket from this airline, after all, I have decided to fly to Kathmandu in late summer this August. A return ticket for flying from Kuala Lumpur to Kathmandu offered by Malindo Air in this promotion was selling for as low as only RM670. I can’t find such a good bargain with other budget airlines.

Yesterday when I logged on to Malindo Air’s online ticketing website again, I only learned that the travel fair has already brought down its curtain. I was late by three days to seize the best buy that was ended on last Sunday.

I spoke to my boss yesterday afternoon about my intention to go backpacking in Nepal. Working as a part-timer, I do not enjoy the privilege of having to accumulate any annual leave. So, I asked him for a special working break. It is 2 months break, leaving the office desk. He was generous enough to immediately approve my request.

Before I obtained an approval from my boss for the long break, I had wanted to jump the gun to purchase the air ticket first, then only to settle the leave matter with him later. But considering the matter as a courtesy of thoughtfulness and to avoid any complication of honouring a respect, I held back. It is not befitting to act prematurely as such until I have obtained a nod of yes from by boss.

So, I missed the promotional fair and I have to withdraw an extra RM700 from my pocket to purchase a ticket flying to Kathmandu at an expensive, no promotional price with other airlines.

Malindo Air is out of my option now. I do not wish to pay extra for its air ticket on a non-promotional price.

I had wanted to fly with Nepal Airlines. In any destinations, it is always cheaper to fly with either airline of the local countries between the two destination cities. To get a cheaper fare, the apparent choice of the local budget airline is Air Asia. Nepal Airlines is also a preference option. This time going on a backpack to Nepal, I wanted to try out to fly with a local Nepali airline. In any way, if we support their local airways, we are at least supporting to contribute to the rebuilding of Nepal’s economy ensuing aftermath of the devastating 7.9 magnitude earthquake that struck Nepal in April last year.

I searched on the internet and logged on to the website of Nepal Airlines. There are limited material orientations supplied by its website. There is no spontaneous real-time web page installed on its website for anyone to search for its flights and make a reservation for the selected air tickets. So, real-time ticketing purchase is completely out of the scene.

I read from its web page and feel a little delighted to know that Nepal Airlines does fly the route to Kuala Lumpur. It has a schedule of flying 3 times a week to Kuala Lumpur. I am not able to find out the fare of the ticket unless I decided to make a call to its sales office located in Semua House in the city centre of Kuala Lumpur. All the ticketing enquiries are directed to the sales office through a telephone call. Taking the trouble to purchase an air ticket through a telephone call is always cumbersome. I’ll opt out of the intention to fly with Nepal Airlines now because I can’t purchase the ticket online. It is a regret that I’ll have to look for options with other budget airlines.

Flying with Air Asia is ever the cheapest mode for a person leaving Kuala Lumpur going to elsewhere destinations that Air Asia serves a flying route. The air ticket, for a return flight from Kuala Lumpur to Kathmandu, costs only RM1,100. Comparably, you’ll have to pay for at least RM1,400 to RM1,500 to secure an air ticket on a usual day from Malindo Air instead.

When I plan to travel out from Malaysia, my first option of securing an air ticket always drives me to Air Asia. Air Asia has never failed to offer the cheapest selection of air tickets. But when you travel with a low cost budget airline - particularly with a no frills airline like Air Asia, you do not get to enjoy the flight food. The flight attendants will not serve any airline meals and snacks en route to your destination. Getting to serve with airline meals and snacks when I get on board in the airplane is viewed a weighty reason why I choose to fly with a particular airline.

I know it does not cost to burn a deep hole in the pocket if you decided to pay RM15 for a meal box, another RM10 for a canned drinks and another RM15 for a after meal snack, you are still ending up paying cheaper for an airfare with Air Asia than you decided to fly with a full-service counterpart. If you pay an add-on for a meal with a low cost carrier during the meal time, psychologically you feel that you are paying an extra cost. Whereas when you fly with a full-service airline, you are being served with meals with no any additional charge to be paid. This is how I simply surmise the way I am restive to be served with airline meals properly while on board.

Perhaps for this round of travel, I’ll not single out to pick for an air ticket with this no frills, low cost carrier Air Asia, and make a decision to search for a full-service airline.

I found many air ticket agencies offering cheap air tickets online on the internet. For the Kuala Lumpur - Kathmandu route, some agencies offered a combination of two different airlines for a return ticket. One airway will go to Kathmandu and later, another airway will fly home to Kuala Lumpur on the return trip. Many agencies offering many options, but prices are almost one and the same.

Do you know Biman Airlines?

Biman Airlines is not a common brand of airway for many people to fly with. It is the flag carrier of Bangladesh if you do not know yet. I get to turn to this airline after searching it through the internet for full-service airlines plying the route between Kathmandu and Kuala Lumpur. The main reason is, it’s a full-service airline and offered the cheapest flight among other competitor counterpart airlines.

I have to purchase the air ticket soon. Otherwise, I have to pay more for the air ticket if I decided to purchase it later.


Mero Behosi Aaja
Mero Behosi Aaja - by Narayan Gopal

Posted by Quah Khian Hu 03:37 Archived in Malaysia Comments (0)

I Wish I Can Sing

Do I Have A Sexy Voice?

sunny 36 °C


I wish that I own a vocal phonation to sing Narayan Gopal’s songs. I know I can’t sing. I have a deep note of voice sinking in the throat. When I want to throw out my voice to sing, I have my voice stuck in the larger soundboard of the adam’s apple.

My voice is a low voice and it sounds a little coarse. When the vocal cords in the larynx vibrate, the vibration turns into a bass range, among the lowest range of voice of a male vocal tract.

I have a strong desire to sing. I wanted to sing seriously with all my heart out. Singing to me is a mental activity that I can express my mood, temperament, personality and disposition in the high degree from my heart.

As I have a deep and low vocal tract, I hardly get to whisper, lest not talking about my singing. When I begin to whisper, I have to make sure that my vocal cords are adducted so that they do not vibrate. In a quiet and serious occasion, I will make sure that I do not whisper. It’s very difficult for me to whisper to a person into his ear without being overhead or disturbing others in a quiet place.

If I can’t avoid and I must have whispered something, I need to hold firm to the vocal cords in the throat. I’ll only let the air passes between the arytenoid cartilages in the larynx to which the vocal cords are attached. I’ll try not to vibrate the vocal cords. It is hard not to create a resonance in the vocal larynx when I begin to whisper. It’s too difficult an act to control the vocal larynx. Forget about getting me to whisper to you. I almost do not whisper to anyone.

I never remember I had a voice I call rich and resonant as an adult man when I give oral reports in the office. I know that my vocal tone is always a raspy and flat one projected on my voice box. When I was still a new workmate in my old office, one day when I was giving an oral report to my colleagues, I noticed that a colleague of mine was reacting to ogle at me lecherously in her way that was unusual to me. She was listening to me with an ogle stare that filled me with a wonder. She may have laid eyes on me in her very covert way and not to let anyone know that she was admiring at me. I felt for her eye-ogle echoes. Much later, a workmate told me, “You have a deep voice, resonant, and well, OK - sexy.”

A sexy voice? Do I have a sexy voice?

How do you expect me to respond, but a reddening blush?

When I was first drawn to Narayan Gopal’s music on the YouTube, I have no idea who he was. I am only simply searching on the internet for Nepali classics and I want to find some songs of these Nepali classics which are composed in slow tempo beats. I found a long list of Narayan Gopal’s songs on the YouTube. Many of his YouTube videos are made available for downloading into MP3. His music is richly orchestrated by the harmonium, tabla, violin, and it will not do properly without a woodwind of a flute.

Listening to Narayan Gopal’s classic music, we don’t need a sound booster. All we need is to play it over the speakers at a soft volume. Keep the volume between a soft earshot in a soothing spread so that we feel for his music. Then sit back with a cup of tea and relax, and humming while listening to it.

Narayan Gopal’s - Kehi Mitho Baat Gara, translates as - Honour a Sweet Talk. I copied the lyrics of this song from the internet. The original lyrics written in Nepali are translated in Roman alphabets. I really wish that I could sing this song, softly but with all my heart out.

To redeem for a vocal box in my larynx that does not sing, often I blow my harmonica. I tried to blow the song Kehi Mitho Baat Gara with my G-cord harmonica.

Narayan Gopal Gurubacharya is by far the most prominent and popular singer in Nepali music. When people think or talk about Nepali music, the name most associated is that of Narayan Gopal. For most people, he is the singer. He was also an accomplished music composer in his own right. Not only was he gifted with a great voice, he was very versatile. His voice range allowed him to sing songs of every genre.

I choose a long list of MP3 songs sang by Narayan Gopal and attached them over the media player on the laptop. The MP3 songs are set to string along with me at night until I fall into sleep. At most time, I will let the MP3 songs run on the player until the following morning. I switch off the media player when I get up from the bed in the morning. Kehi Mitho Baat Gara has quickly become a darling number-one to me that mellows my heart whenever I listen to it. There are versions of Kehi Mitho Baat Gara, sang by other Nepali singers.

That night I was completely aroused from sleep, listening to this Nepali girl singing - Kehi Mitho Baat Gara, Honour a Sweet Talk. She sang the song so sweetly and she got to blow my mind away. I remained awake through the night for quite some hours.

Kehi Mitho Baat Gara

(Kehi mitho baat gara raat tesai dhalkidai chha) 2
Bharai feri ekanta ma runu ta chhadaai chha,
Kehi mitho baat gara raat tesai dhalkidai chha,

(Ramailo kura gara, sapanako kura gara) 2
sang-sangai bitayeko (samjhana ko kura gara)x2
Dukha chhoda dukha lai ta jindagani chhadai chha,
Bharai feri ekantama runu ta chhadai chha,
Kehi mitho baat gara raat tesai dhalkidai chha,

Aau nachau aandhyaroma junkiri nache jastai,
Batas ma udau aaja (simal ko bhuwa jastai) 2
Due kadam saath hidau chhutinu ta chhadai chha,
Bharai feri ekanta ma runu ta chhadai chha,
Kehi mitho baat gara raat tesai dhalkidai chha

Kehi Mitho Baat Gara sang by a Nepali girl
Kehi Mitho Baat Gara - unplugged by Kitab Band
Kehi Mitho Baat Gara by the original singer Narayan Gopal, very classic in slow tempo beats

Posted by Quah Khian Hu 01:50 Archived in Malaysia Comments (0)

A Helpful Protagonist

My Friend’s Indonesian Neighbour

overcast 33 °C


Last Saturday afternoon when I was getting myself ready to write a piece of blog, I received a telephone call from my swim buddy, Zul. I thought he wanted to fix a time for us to meet up at the pool, but very quickly he broke my words, “Quah, I need you to come over to my house. I need your help. You need to come right away”. I asked, “Going to your house now? What’s up?” He continued to talk quite anxiously with some emotional stress, “I’m locked up. I’m in the house, but I can’t open the door.” I suppose he can’t open the main wooden door and he is locked from within. Zul further added, “Come now. You’ll get the key from me through the door crack at the below. You try to unlock the door from outside.” Then he hung up.

Half an hour later, I arrived at his doorstep. It appears to be clumsy and badly coordinated to tell people that you are being locked from inside. Keys are in your hands, and you are staying indoor. Why on earth that you are not able to open the door? Often, Zul gets unrest very easily. When he is unrest, you can tell it through his clumsy nonverbal body gestures and the babble of his speech.

He flung the door key through the crack from the below of the wooden door. I tried several times to unlock the door with the key he gave me. The latch bolt of the lock was stuck. It stuck very tightly. I wasn’t able to unlock it. I only had a thought to dash the door with my leg and pry it open. I am a lousy home-improvement guy. I am a poor repairman in all aspects. There are other genius ways to back down the stuck latch bolt instead of breaking it open.

I can’t hear Zul clearly as he bawled from within his home. So, he called my mobile phone. He asked me to get a locksmith.

Zul lives in a low-rise 5-storey apartment in Subang Perdana. At the door on the right to where he stays, lives an Indian Muslim family. Adjacent to the stairways which is only several steps away from his door, lives a middle-aged couple. This middle-aged couple are Indonesia nationals.

Where to find a locksmith in this area of Subang Perdana? I knocked on the door of this Indian Muslim family asking his children to call their daddy from his room. Their daddy came to their doorstep. He took the door key from me and tried out to open the stuck door, but he did not succeed to open the door too. Then he had a blink of an idea, “Why not get our neighbour living next door to help out?”

This neighbour of Zul, the Indonesian man appeared to have the ability and competence in doing whatever one repairman has to do.

No words said by the Indonesian man. I looked at what he has got to do. He whipped out a card from his wallet. He was as slick as a skilled protagonist, who devoted to righting the wrongs of the world. He is a local version of the MacGyver.

He slid the card into the vertical crack between the wooden door and its frame where the lock was stuck. Then he inserted the card with a strong force as far as it will go at a perpendicular angle with the door. After he got hold of the card, he wiggled it in the crack of the door down to the doorknob where he found the latch bolt. He tilted the card several times and leaned against the door with a push. As the card tilted the latch bolt and with his push, the latch bolt popped open and backed down. The door was now opened. Zul looked at us as he stood by the door which was just popped open.

Millions of foreign workers come in droves to Malaysia to earn a living and seek a greener economic pasture here. Most of them are uneducated and unskilled. They come from the less developed and poorer countries, from south Asia and particularly from the neighbouring country of Indonesia. The only reason they come to Malaysia is to work and earn money by working in the tough labour fields and save enough money to send home to their families. Malaysians often distinguish to discriminate between the white-collar executives over the rough physical laborious foreign workers. We turn our nose up at them - for the reason that they are rough physical labourious foreign workers.

Zul was hesitated to thank the Indonesian man. He was a bit too full of himself to accept the help of this Indonesian man.

Being an accountant as a profession, I don’t do the physical work that requires a lot of energy in the labour field. I have no labour skill. I wish that instead of being a pen pusher, I had been a labour. I have this wild notion running at the head.

Imagine now that you live in a state of disorder in the anarchy. Famine strikes in the insurrection of the absence of government. With an extreme uprising of social violence and the widespread of famine , we are dying of starvation. Again, imagine that the world is facing a crop disaster and everyone lives under the extreme shortage of food. Everyone is dying of starvation. It is only the labour work that if one sows and tending to the earth with crop seeds, he may reap the crops for feeding. No matter how well you are a corporate figure being a pen pusher, you will starve to death in the widespread of famine. You can’t eat the currency notes.

It is the same in literal words, working as an accountant, literally I can’t eat the amount of the enormous dollars and cents of the accounts I get to print by the computers.

Take the banana banknotes as an example. These banknotes were printed by the Japanese imperial during the Japanese occupation of Malaya in the WWII. To supply the Japanese authorities with money whenever they required it, the occupation simply printed more notes. This resulted in hyperinflation and a severe depreciation in value of the banana notes. My aunt Lian once saying, “During the WWII of Japanese occupation, there were scenes where we watched people transacted a trade with a full gunny sack of banana banknotes.”

I hold some respect and admiration for the Indonesian labour workers. They are capable of building a house for shelter. I can’t. They are capable of planting crops for grains. I can’t. Working as a hard labour is a fundamental living skill. It is the skill that I do not have.

Never get to cause to have too centred in ourselves. I had several times got help from them. Who knows one day we may need their help at the time of unrest.


Posted by Quah Khian Hu 05:43 Archived in Malaysia Comments (1)

No Quitting Part-Time Job

Find A Job In The Less Developed Country?

overcast 33 °C


Working part-time does not give me a sense of assurance and achievement. Because the job scope is very confined and clerical boundary, I always feel I have not managed to deliver enough the amount of work to be compensated by the wages I get paid. I feel I need to deliver more effort and get more things in the office to be done before I receive my payroll by the end of the month. I have a careful consideration for work, if I get to be paid RM1,000, I must deliver a work value of RM1,000, or perhaps give more efforts above the wages value. Otherwise, I would feel a sense of degrading in the worth for my presence in the office.

Earlier, I have a predicament whether to stay or quit this part-time job before I go for a 2 months break in this coming autumn. The thought of quitting the job kept rolling over and over in a huge mess in the head. It was a reverberate rolling echoes messed up in the head. If I don’t tender my resignation letter, upon my return from the trip in October, at least I still have a job in hand. I am able to earn an assured amount of pocket money to pay for my insurance premium and credit card bills. The pocket money, albeit not much, will be used to recover some of the cash money I withdraw from the savings for spending in the Himalayas. So, I put off the thinking of quitting the job.

I am desirous to work with a company in the overseas as a manager to run and overseeing their finance and accounts activities. Some 8 years ago, I was successfully selected a candidate for a job posting in Papua New Guinea. The director owns a sawmill in Papua New Guinea. He runs the business as a joint venture with his brother in Port Moresby. His manager overseeing the finance has left him, that made him returned to Malaysia to search for a replacement.

Looking back now, I wouldn’t want to turn off the offer granted by the director. I turned off the offer because the remuneration package offered by the director was mediocre. I chose not to work for him. If I get a second chance of offer from the director now, I will grab his offer. It is the country - Papua New Guinea that I wouldn’t want to think twice, thrice or many more times to work and live there. What is the fuss over the salary if you are paid well above your peers in the market but you get confronted by the diseased corporate peer relationship? What is the excitement over the flashy and a glittering office room that is given to you if you do not have the inward satisfaction for liking to do your daily job?

I am getting more and more inspired to retreat into the less developed countries like Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka, Myanmar or India to make a living there. But job opportunities are not widely opened for a foreigner in these countries. They don’t advertise their recruitment needs in Malaysia. Their needs for job candidates are absolutely filled by their local nationals first. As an alternative way to find my way through into these countries, I hope to do it through an employment with a Malaysian company. Some Malaysian companies are huge MNC running the business in these countries. I only have a simple demand. I do not seek an expatriate treatment. Nepal is a country I have a greater wish to go there for work, live and retreat. I know finding a job in Nepal is out of the context and out of a sane mind. Nepalis come in droves to Malaysia for a greener economic pasture but adversely it is rarely any Malaysians go to Nepal to earn a living.

Retreating into the less developed countries makes me want to withdraw to a more quiet and secluded place for living. Living in Kuala Lumpur has a full force of hustle and a scurry bustle. It is not a place to find a still quietness in itself.

I wanted to perforate a breakthrough from the norm, and breakaway from the 9 am - 6pm white collar corporate work in this capital city of Kuala Lumpur. The days ahead are tough, I find myself a candidate at 42 loses the competitive edge due to the age factor. Competition with the younger candidates is inevitable. I would select a younger candidate in his 30s to fill the position for a posting in overseas if I am asked to pick one for my company. In some cases, I may not totally lose out in this race. A person in his 40s who shows the standard of mental and emotional qualities of an adult wins over the selection criteria.




Narayan Gopal - Kehi Mitho Baat Gara in piano. Last week at one midnight, I woke up finding this piece of piano playing a song on my laptop. I ushered my look into the laptop so closely with my sleepy eyes closed. I listened to the melody. It was so enchanting that I hallucinated into its rhythm. I felt the melody oscillated me into an imaginary captivating mass of cotton candy clouds over the mountains in the Himalayas.


Kehi Mitho Baat Gara sang by Narayan Gopal

Posted by Quah Khian Hu 03:36 Archived in Malaysia Comments (0)

At The Juncture Of Dilemma

A Part-Timer Now

sunny 33 °C


Last year in June, I quit my full-time job after I had the trauma of pain in the chest. Soon after that, a swim buddy of mine introduced me to an occasional job that made me ended up in USJ Subang. A casual job that required me to work for only 3 days a week. On each alternate day, I will have to be reported to the office. On every Tuesday and Thursday, I get to rest. In an ordinary full-time job, an employee will have to clock at least a minimum of 42 and-a-half hours for a week. For this job, I work for 25 and-a-half hours only. I get to be paid on a daily basis. If I work on that day, I‘ll get to be paid. If I don’t, my pocket gets no wages for that day.

It was a restless dilemma for me when I first met my present boss asking from him for a position in his accounts department for a part time job. I know without a doubt that working as a part-timer is not a way to stay connected to build a proper career. Unless I work a full-time job, I would not be able to build a proper career. It is vital for me to keep a nonbreak gap of my career history. If I accepted and begin to work as a part-timer, I would have tainted my career history.

An anxiety that perturbed and bogged me down heavy is, because now I have a career history of the period working as a part-timer, I may be viewed by the future employers as having no earnest thought to build a serious work career. I am already 42. To them, why does a serious candidate pursuing his career at a mature age switching to take up a part-time job? For a candidate at 42, he should not at any choice leaving his job lest taking up a part-time job. He should have earned a stabilized income by now.

Before, I already left my jobs several times. I have several career gaps in my employment history. During that time, I went to travel on backpack after I quit my jobs. In my job search, many employers found it difficult to offer a job to me, worried that I may not stay on long. The employers made me understand their intended meaning - living a realistic life. A person’s employment marketability begins to drop at the age of 40. This is how they relate to me. Never think that I have no worries every time I left my job for travel. As the number of times I quit my job, my worries compiled. Finding a suitable new job in the future is getting difficult.

Why do I choose to quit my full-time job? Why now I choose to work as a part-timer? Opportunities of jobs working as an accountant are available out there. Why not pick up a proper full-time job and stay on with it instead of deciding to take up a part-time position?

The heart pain attacked me last year and the diseased relationship among subordinates in the previous job made me left the job. Yes, they have been crude to me. But these reasons are not truer enough being the real cause of reasons why I have a persistent yearning to leave job and travel far away from home. Emotionally in the heart I have not revealed the knot. There is something buried extending far down in the heart that I deeply felt for it. I tried hard to listen to my heart. I hope someone senses and feels the same deeply for me.

My emotion is getting intense day by day that I am hoping one day I can live like the student disciples I have seen in India who have relinquished their household lives. Their living in the ashrams being a student committing to the only learning of religious scriptures and philosophy. Living and Learning in the ashram environment is a great longing I wanted to do.

When I was living in Tiruvannamalai, the Arunachala hill sacred to Lord Shiva, I lived in a rented householder home. Many ashrams do offer a place for disciples to live if they write a request letter and deliver out with some donations. I did not manage to pick my way to live in the ashram although there are an endless number of ashrams in Tiruvannamalai. I waited unless I am ready to feel with inward emotions for the ashram.

My brother asked me, as he understands that I have travelled to various spiritual learning centers in India, “Did you manage to find someone on the spiritual path who can guide you?”. I replied to him saying, “Anyone may find a guru, but it’s essential that I should not make it literally to have a connection with him. The connection with a guru shall arise as a natural cause of connection in the inward between us. It cannot be a makeup. He will be the person who can take care and guide me through in the spiritual process”. I further added on, “I wish one day I will meet a guru. A guru that I can devote to him. I am in the process of searching for him.”

Some people ask, “What is the purpose of living in the ashram?” Living in the ashram is living under the umbrella of the teaching of a guru. People say, you will find a guru when you are ready. Maybe I am not ready for myself yet. I must remember the purpose why I have the strong desirous feeling to relinquish living as a householder.

16 years ago, I was given a reading by a psychic who calculated the numerology chart of my date of birth and into the fine print of the time of my birth. With her supernatural ability to perceive events in the future beyond a normal sensory contact, she made a remark and stated very directly to me, “You will get on with another 3 jobs only after you leave this present employment.” she added further, “You would not want to earn your wages by spending your day sitting at the desk. Your character will lead you away from working on the enclosure of office environment.” She perceived that I will go away from the norm. 16 years ago, I was working as an auditor with an auditing firm. It was my first job. I was contracted to work with the firm and at that period, I was still engaging with the accounting institute to pursue a qualification.

Since the last previous job, it’s getting tough emotional day after day for me to sit at the desk within an enclosure of the office environment. From nine morning, I know I have to report to work. By six evening I wrapped up the job and went home. It became an automating process where I was operating like an automatic machine.

I accept the quality of my character traits. I’m well alert a timid person who does not do a witty trick to win over the hearts of people. Doing a witty trick is seriously a very daunting piece of work for me. Sometimes I tried to be persuasive and creating myself being interesting, but the witty tricks I played just did not work out. It’s my true self I feel at ease and relaxed. If I choose not to be a white collar sitting at the desk at the office, what can I do for a living?

The part-time income is far smaller than the salary I earned before. As long as I am able to make my monthly ends meet, able to pay for my insurance, telephone and credit card bills, I will live with this occasional job till I return from the 2-month leave. I will relay to my boss of my intention to be away from the office for 2 months in this coming August and September. I will only relay the message to him when time is fit. Maybe in late June, I’ll get his permission for the leave from office. The 2 months away from the office will be my moments I can let go and I’ll think about what I can do when I return home.


Tadha tadha janu chha sathi - Narayan Gopal nepali song

Posted by Quah Khian Hu 16:42 Archived in Malaysia Comments (0)

No Gift Of A Gab

Finding Beauty In The Ugliest Days

overcast 28 °C

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I had a career but not now. Last year at this time, I left my job. I had not managed to stay long with this company. I worked there for only half a year. Of my career history, this employment was the shortest stint ever. It was a disconcerting struggle for me to find a reason every morning why I should get to punch my attendance card and be reported at the table by nine o’clock every morning. I woke up in the morning, and I was completely pulled back seeing that I have another long full day to deal with the people that human chemistry just didn’t work out properly among us.

This organization owns itself a 25-storey office building in the prime centre of Kuala Lumpur in Jalan Raja Chulan. It boasts to have employed 250 collar workers including blue-collar and unskilled construction workers to do the building work for its property development projects. I was employed as an accountant overseeing the accounts and finance of the companies within the group.

Working in a group of companies, it is inevitable that we are bound to deal with someone who couldn’t tolerate and get along well with us. I have peers who have had a bad emotional state for me yet I have to tolerate them because I needed them for work. At the expense of my worthy respect, I gave in to them. In my finance department, the grapevine chain was so influential that they tended to create a belief that their voices can overpower their superior. When I say - follow my instructions, they tend to do the work their way.

The subordinates took the guts to challenge me by showing awful faces when I wanted them to do work. That was enough to stupefy me as a sign of emotional attack. When I gave an explanation on how to get the task done, they put on denial mode.

In one evening last year in April, when I was boarding the Masjid Jamek LRT train heading home from the office, I had a sudden attack of crushing pain in the heart. I already had the discomfort in the chest that had been prolonged when I was in the office. I stood by the door of the train while one hand holding on to the handrail, because of the chronic crushing pain, I had another hand forcibly laid and pressed on the chest. I used some force to press on the left chest in the position of the heart. I was hoping to release some pain that had attacked suddenly.

I took an instant long and deep inhalation into the lungs followed by strong exhalation of air out from the lungs. With no delay, I turned my focus on the chakra node of the heart.

Before, I had an experience of respiratory choke that attacked and caused pain on the chest. I posed myself on a kneeling vajrasana where my knees, lower legs and ankles were together and I sat back on the heels. After kneeling on vajrasana, I took to focus on the chakra node and continued to hold on to the chakra as a point of convergence of my breath. Slowly I breathed in and exhaled out in a strong, regular and repeated pattern for some while. As I began to feel some release from the choke, I rested. After a while, I continued the breathing in a rhythmic pattern again until I was eased from the choke.

But this time, the crushing pain in the heart is not associated with the respiratory choke.

The train rattled its way off from the city centre to the suburban residential area where I live. I was still standing on the train hoping to reach home quickly.

The agony of pain turned not bearable. I had not before suffered from this kind of crushing pain in the heart. I ruled out any blood vessel problem.

I knew I have been living under some chronic level of mental stress caused by the ill-emotional relationship with the office peers and subordinates, and also working the way to meet the series of crucial reporting deadlines that the finance department could not afford not to abide.

That night, I went to the general practitioner to do an ECG scan. The doctor reviewed the records of the electrical activity of the heart generated by the ECG machine. The doctor detected no signs of heart attack. During the ECG scan, the crushing pain in the heart had already completely receded.

“You should come immediately to do the ECG scan when you begin to feel pain in the heart. The ECG machine is able to scan for any malfunction in the heart when there is a pain. Now I read the ECG report as normal”, uttered the doctor. “Mental stress that causing pain in the heart is also another type of heart attack”, said the doctor who wanted me to take wellness of mental stress as seriously as blood vessel problem that clogged the heart. I knew the intended meaning of the doctor. The crushing attack in the heart was believed to be a mild heart attack. I am now a patient of the heart attack at 41. I have to look inward before deciding my next step of how I wanted to live my life.

One year apart, I hold no blame on the 2 executives who worked in my department. They held diseased grudges and emotions to dislike my presence in the office. Instead, I have a regret that we were not able to build any good feelings while I was there. No one is blameworthy. If I do a witty trick to win over the hearts of people and being persuasive and creating myself being interesting enough, I may overcome more flaws for better work relationship. I know myself. I am not capable of doing so. I do not have that gift of a gab. I am an introvert who turns inward mentally. I often avoid large groups of people and feeling more energized by time alone.

Working as a group accountant, inevitably the position requires me to meet many demanding reporting deadlines causing plentiful stress. The position will work well with a receive of great support from the team. If the subordinates were caught in the emotional distress with me, work will not be delivered. The mental stress level is heightened.

I have no career now. I am only on a 3-day week work as a part timer with a small company. The income I receive from working as a part timer is only a meagre return, it is capable at least helping me to make ends meet. I spend no much or luxury.

I am able to energize myself well by time alone. Of the dull days, I am looking forward to seeking the beauties of Nepal. Travel solo is the moment I cherished more than having a companion.

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Narayan Gopal is a prominent singer and composer of Nepali songs, who has died in 1990 at the age of 51. Hope you like his songs as much as I do.


Posted by Quah Khian Hu 05:46 Archived in Malaysia Comments (1)

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