Wednesday, December 31, 2014

My Transfer Back To Kuching

That day, he went to the library. J, the school librarian, glanced up from her table and saw him. J said he looked like he was looking for something. But since he did not say a word, J too, did not greet him nor talk to him. That was the last time J saw him alive.

He waved to everyone that Friday afternoon as he drove off. It was as if he was saying goodbye. Many of my colleagues related this fact to me.

How did I manage to get transferred back to Kuching? It's all because of this tragic incident. 


Well, I knew Jimmy. He was my junior at college. We were enrolled in different programmes though - I twinned with NZ while he with UK. But he was a pretty friendly and popular guy ... so who wouldn't know him, right?

Then over the years, we've met at various courses from time to time. Eventually, he was supervising the MUET speaking exams in the northern division. So he would drive over to Miri from Bintulu during exam seasons .... and sometimes I'd bump into him when he came to my school to do the moderation.


Starting 2011, I began to apply for transfer back to Kuching. I was tired of being alone in Miri, far away from my family. However, my P never approved of my transfer. He'd always written "Tidak disokong kerana perkhidmatan masih diperlukan." Well, I'd like to think that I was so efficient that he could not do without me. But then, nobody was indispensible in school. People came and go. It was just inevitable.

So late in 2013 when I applied for transfer for yet another time, my P finally approved it. I was over the moon. Though it did not mean that I would be guaranteed a transfer, it gave me a chance to be considered. Though I did not know it at the time, my P himself was planning on his own transfer. What I did not know was that he had applied to become a SISC+ - a School Improvement Specialist Coach, and stood a good chance of getting the position.

If everything went as planned, he himself would be leaving the following year (2014). So I guessed that he reasoned that if he was leaving, then it would be alright for me to leave as well. Because then, he would no longer need my assistance in the school.

However, that year in 2013, there was no vacancy in Kuching for me. I was an appointed Form 6 teacher, and I could only fill in posts in schools where there were Form 6 classes. I absolutely had no way of getting my transfer unless there was a vacancy. I was disappointed but I vowed to try again the following year. 


14 February 2014. Valentine's Day. Friday. At our weekly meeting, my P announced that he was leaving the school. He had officially been appointed SISC+. Though I was happy that he got that coveted position, I was also feeling quite sad. P was a slave driver. P was demanding. P was impatient. But I had enjoyed working with him for 6 years, and I had learned so much from him. I looked up to him and respected him so much.

I also cringed at the thought of starting all over again with a new P. New P, new style of management. New temperaments to get used to. New set of rules to learn. Sigh. It made me feel so tired. I was demotivated.

I also remembered that day vividly because on that day, as I left the school, my car tyre punctured. I was already at the gate of my school when the school clerk alerted me. I drove back into the school compound and seeked help from 2 of my colleagues -  J & C. My knights in shining armour. They were so kind. They changed the tyre for me and brought me to the tyre shop to get the tube replaced. I was glad that I could even make it in time to the neighbouring school to support my students in a friendly football match at afternoon .....

But since that day, I was feeling bleak. I contemplated whether I should appeal for transfer the whole weekend.


16 February 2014. Sunday. I remembered rolling around in my bed that morning and feeling extremely restless. Appeal. Don't appeal. But thoughts of having to work with another new P was really very unwelcoming. I was also really afraid that I would be reluctant to leave once I got used to the new P. Then, it would take a few year more before I could make it back to Kuching.

In the end, I fired up the computer and actually started drafting my appeal letter. In BM. It read funny as I was not accustomed to write in BM. I got irritated. So I gave up halfway.

I was quite desperate when I contacted AT, and asked him to accompany me for a drink. He obliged and we went to Permaisuri Imperial City Mall. I tasked AT whether I should appeal for my transfer. He did not think I was serious about it though. He even joked that he could get a few muscular tattooed fellows to wreak havoc at the Education Department so that my transfer would get approved. Lol. 

Then all of the sudden, I received a text message from a colleague, S, informing me of Jimmy's passing. I gasped out loud covering my mouth. AT asked me what was wrong. We both pondered about how fragile life was.

Then, a thought crept into my mind ... so now there was vacancy. In Kuching. Jimmy, my friend. Jimmy, who taught the same subject as I was. 


17 February 2014. Monday. My colleague, NL and I were both keen to appeal for our transfer.  NL was also an appointed Form 6 teacher. It was just as difficult for her to get her transfer as it was for me to get mine.  We both consulted our Senior Assistance as whether we should write an appeal. He thought it was the best thing to do. I wrote and re-wrote my letter and finally came up with the final draft. 


18 February 2014. Tuesday. I went to see my P, showed him my appeal letter. He was a bit surprised that I wanted to appeal my transfer, but he signed them. 


21 February 2014. Friday. Both NL and my appeal letters got sent off to Kuching. The wait begun. 


3 March 2014. My P's last day in school. We had a special assembly and then sent him off. We were without a P and waiting for a replacement. 


The officer in-charge of transfers called my school. He asked about the number of Form 6 teachers there were at my school. There were only 3 - A, NL and me. Then he presented me with a situation - if NL and I got successfully transferred out of the school, there would only be 1 Form 6 teacher left. It was a no-no.

Therefore, to solve the problem, he asked me to nominate teachers who were already teaching Form 6 to be appointed as Form 6 teachers. I should also nominate someone to hold my post SHOULD I be transferred out.

I was excited. I knew I stood a good chance to be transferred back to Kuching. But I did not dare to ask him too much , i.e. what were my chances, which school I would be going to, when would I know the results.

In the meantime, I discussed with my Senior Assistant about the personnel to appoint and did the paperwork. I nominated all qualified teachers from my school to be appointed as Form 6 teachers within the next few days. I also nominated B, the current Humanities Panel Head, to take over my post as the Senior Assistant for Form 6. 


31 March 2014. Monday. It was the first day of school after the mid-term break. I had just came back from KL the day before. It as a usual day at work and I was just doing some paperwork as per usual.

I was in my office. Then M, my Senior Assistant came in. "Congratulations," he said, extending his hand to me. Don't kid me around, I replied. He insisted that my transfer letter was in the school admin office. I did not believe him. But then, I asked, "Is it St. Joseph's?"

Indeed it was. I was to transfer effective 16 April 2014. I couldn't believe it. I couldn't believe the tragic circumstances which had to occur for me to get my transfer back to Kuching ...

That night, AT celebrated with me .. we went to Marriott Hotel to have a cuppa .... my treat! :))


I started giving away my things and packing .... AT helped me so much, supplying me with boxes, and even helping me to pack, and arranging for my things to be sent back to Kuching. After I emptied my room, he even let me put up at his house for an entire week ...

He let me stay in the main bedroom which was more comfy, while he used the guest room. When he was away in Bintulu for work for a few days, he trusted me enough to let me stay alone in HIS house. 


13 April 2014. AT and I drove home to Kuching in my car .... told him to help me get a trailer. But he said he'd drive. 


15 April 2014. I was on leave. But I went to report myself at my new school. The P was not there, so the senior assistant received me. I was to resume all of Jimmy's duties. I was shown around and introduced to the teachers.


16 April 2014. It was exactly 2 months after Jimmy's death.  I officially began my work at my new school. 

Demon Deli

I had bought a groupon for Demon Deli .... so D and I headed over for our lunch there. The shop was located at Tabuan Tranquility, near Giant Stutong, and was not difficult to locate even though we'd both never been there before.

First impression, well, I found the staff to be very impersonal and unfriendly ..... when giving us the menu, when taking our orders, serving the food and so on ... so I'd not give them high marks for service.

The drinks came in huge sizes! In the menu it was stated 650cc .... and I could not imagine how large they were, being more accustomed to the measurement of volume in millilitres. So we both regretted ordering 2 drinks when we could have just shared 1.

Iced tea for me, hot tea latte for D ... 

With our RM19 groupon, we had .... 

Eeew .... the chicken fingers were burnt .... but the nuggets were alright; 
Hmn ... I could have fried all these myself ... it was meh.

And D and I each had a bear paw .... 

Th bun came in an orange-y hue and stamped with the signature bear paw .... 

Beef and cheese on a bed of lettuce and a slice of tomato, and served with fries
D said the burger was slightly spicy ..... and other than that, no comment from him 

Breaded Pork and cheese sauce on my bear paw
The pork cutlet was super crispy and crunchy ..... the batter was thick and the meat was a mere thin sliver, but at least it tasted nice; I liked the cheese sauce, though

Well, with the bear paw tried, we both did not find much to be desired here.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Big Sister Dumpling

The year was ending .... but I had been really cranky. I had been throwing D plenty of my temper tantrums this week, and it culminated today's outbreak at lunch. We were both quiet in the end ....... so how could we have had enjoyed our lunch at Big Sister Dumpling when tension filled the air .... But of course, being adults, we could be civilised and finished the meal together.

 Chicken and mushroom noodles for D
I ate some .... and found the broth the be peppery; the noodles were springy but a bit hard for me. 

 Steamed pork dumpling ... 

 Pretty large 

The juicy filling ... 

The dumplings tasted of peppercorns too .... reminds me very much of China; not bad, but I was not accustomed to the taste .... I ate half a dozen and D helped eat the other 2.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Snacks @ Hong Kong Bao

After church, we went for a light brunch at Hong Kong Bao at Jalan Padungan. Because of its proximity to the church, lots of people seemed to hang out there after the service ....

D was still recuperating, and I did not actually want to eat anything ..... so we ordered 2 baos and 2 siobees.

D ate only 1 bao, and he ate eat while clutching his tummy .... dramatic or not? I don't know. But I told him not to drink coffee, but he did not listen. So served him right when he had his stomach churning the whole day later on ... :P

Food for the sick? 

I ate the 2 siobees .... which I found to be firm and flavourful .... not bad actually, when dipped in the chilli sauce.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Frozen Magic

The other day, D had an Xmas party at his office. In exchange for the gift he bought, he got a squeeze cup slushy maker. So interesting! D said he was lazy to make any ..... and therefore, I volunteered to test out the cup and make my own slushy ....

Korean Slushy Ice Maker

The cup was made of silicone and made up of two layers. The outer layer was the silicone cup while the inner layer is a liquid cup which froze in the freezer. It came with a screw-on lid and a spoonstraw.

The instructions were simple and straightforward. I merely washed it and popped the whole cup into the freezer. The next day, I took it out and poured a whole packet of chilled Yeo's Green Tea into the cup ......

 Frozen cup and chilled green tea
Any drink can be used to make slushy, be it carbonated drinks or fruit juices. 

Then I squeezed the cup for about a minute .... and ta-da!! 

 Green tea slushy


Magic! Mum exclaimed. I sent D to enquire his colleague about where to buy the cup .... apparently it was available at any Watson's outlet. I had since bought my own cup in green, and had been enjoying fruit slushies for a few days already!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Post Massage Trauma

My friend, D gave me a real scare.

What happened was I booked him for an hour's massage like he asked me to. I do "strong massage," the Thai lady told me when I dropped by that morning. So fine, I booked her for a 6.30 p.m. session, like D requested.

At 6.20 p.m., we went to the massage centre. I had intended to get myself massaged as well, but there was only one Thai lady at the centre,  and I conceded her to D as D had a back ache which needed relieving. I was merely going for it to relax and feel good. All the Indonesian masseuses were unavailable, and I was not keen on the Chinese masseuses, so I sat there waiting for D for an hour.

It wasn't long to wait. It took only a couple of rounds of Candy Crush .... and D appeared. We paid and left ..... He spoke ok, but actually he was not ok.  D seemed dazed. He was feeling all nauseous and lousy and could not even eat his dinner. In fact, he looked so sickly that I was worried.

Dinner that D could not eat at Premier 101

I had hoped that he would get better with the night's rest, but no. The next day, he even had diarrhoea. He went to work even though he was not fit to work. So during lunch time, when he could not stomach even the porridge on the table,  DS and I urged him to take the afternoon off and pay a visit to the doctor's. Doctor merely said that he was having a slight fever and gastritis. Though the diagnosis seemed mild, D's condition did not seem so optimistic to me. D claimed that he was dramatic .... hmn well ....

Day 3 .... D was still visiting the loo at 3 hourly intervals despite Doctor's medication ...

Day 4 ... he claimed he was much better already .... hmn ....

This was like a massage horror story. We vowed never to go back to that centre, and we would be more careful with the masseuses we engage, and we would resist if they exert too much presure on us.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Why Didn't I Read the Label Properly?

The other day, I was shopping at Midvalley Mega Mall & The Gardens on my own ..... and for lunch, I decided to eat the Pulau Ketam Yong Tau Foo ...

RM9.80 for 5 pieces of Yong Tau Foo, and noodles in curry gravy

Hmn .... I've always loved this last time, but this time around, I thought the curry gravy was a bit too diluted. Why was it so? 

I also had the green tea soft serve from Nana Green Tea ... 

RM7.20 now .... it was RM6.80 a few months ago ... 
But luckily this tasted just as good as it had previously. Loved it and missed it already!! 

Shopping wise, hmn .... I bought only a dress and an antique-looking skirt. That's considered to be very conservative purchases, because I used to buy so much more! Lol. And guess what? I had bought the skirt in the wrong size!! That's so silly of me. I had only realised it when I tried it on one night ..... it's a bit snug so I needed a bit of dieting now so that it would fit comfortably. Lol. 

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Xmas 2014

I've always loved the Christmas decoration at Pavillion KL ... This year's decoration was in rich velvet red. I loved it.

And what a great idea it was to have made these out of recycled materials ...

A peacock made out of plastic spoons 

A dragon from rubber shoe soles .... 

A reindeer from paper cups! 

Avenue K is decked out in hot pink .... 

With a cool santa and flying reindeers as centrepiece .... 

Midvalley decided to go floral! 

So pretty! 

The Gardens was elegant as well ....

And in Kuching, the most enchanting place would be The Spring ...

The huge Xmas tree at the front helped set the mood ....

Beautifully lit trees inside the mall gave the magic .... 

And catching the local church group's rendition of the Christmas Cantata ....

Merry Xmas 2014 ....

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Handywoman Saturday

I've always said that I only needed a house the size of an IKEA showroom. The showroom was 50 only metres square. True enough, my little apartment was well .... just 79 metres square. Lol. I had recently made a big commitment to purchase my own home in Kuching. It was small, but not cheap and would take 3 years to build. Hence, I was paying more notice to the furniture layout and pieces which were used to fill up the showroom. I was really excited about decorating my own home .... even though it's still a long way to go. :P

That day, we had gone with a shopping list in mind. Bro and Sil were going to buy 2 Arstid table lamps, 2 lamp shades to replace the ones that Berry broke, 2 Hemnes bedside tables and a Hemnes chest. I bought a Krokig - a clothes hanger for children which I was going to bring back to Kuching. I was going to hang my handbags. Lol.

We had to transport our furniture ourselves, so Bro drove them back, and Sil, Berry and I had to wait for him to come back to pick us up at The Curve.

Couldn't resist buying Old Chang Kee's Sardine O there ..... 

We waited for about an hour at least for Bro to come back ..... and we headed for a late lunch at Chicago Ribs @ One Utama .... and the food was really good! It was as good as I remembered it to be! We even got a RM10.00 discount from Zoinla, a mobile app. We paid about RM110 for the meal. Read here for reviews of the food.

Trio platter

A full rack of BBQ ribs, coleslaw and beer battered fries

Back home, I played handywoman and assisted Bro to assemble the furniture ... and it was fun! We took many hours because there were many parts .... 

 Assembling Hemnes chest of drawers 

And by the time we finished it was already 9.00 p.m. Sil ordered Domino's pizza for us .... 

For RM50, we had these delivered to us :
 2 Regular Pizzas
1 Crazy Chicken Crunchies
1 Garlic French Loaf 
2pcs Breadstix

 Yummy ... 

Of course, there was plenty of leftovers .... for breakfast the next morning. 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Day 4 : Back To KUL

Today was our last day of our short holiday getaway ...

Early morning by the pool .... 

Followed by .... 

Breakfast by the pool .... 

Then we took the shuttle bus to Ao Nang beach for the last time; we hanged out a bit at the beach .... soaking in the beautiful sight .... 

We strolled along the main street one last time, buying more souvenirs .... the thing about shopping here was that there were no price tags. The price was up to the seller. I wanted to buy a wooden bowl .... THB350 the boy told me. I was undecided .... and later when I went back to the shop, the lady wanted to charge me THB450. Atrocious!! 

"How much do you want to pay for this?" the lady asked me. "I give you morning price."

What?? Morning price was not the same as evening price?? I gave up buying. 

At noon, we checked out .... and taxi was already at the lobby; half an hour later, we reached the airport. We had checked in and proceeded into the departure hall .... but it was strange that there was no sign whatsoever to indicate the gate to wait at. 

The tv monitors weren't working; no display about where to wait whatsoever .... 

Inside the departure hall 

Small and with a few shops 

But of course, there were no other gates to wait at  .... so we were at the right place. It was a smooth flight back to Kuala Lumpur. I took the ERL to Bandar Tasik Selatan and then the LRT to Cheras ....

 Oooh ... the new condominium at the Cheras LRT station is ready! 

Bro always reached the station at 7.15 p.m. after work and Sil picked the both of us up there for dinner. After dinner, I babysat Berry while the two of them went to run some errands ...

Berry's older now and easier to handle ....

We spent at least an hour drawing suns ... happy suns and sad suns, and then shapes and then write our ABCs and 123s. Lol. What a cute little boy. :))


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