Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Lost Horizon at Shangri-La

To offset my dissapointment at having to cancel a trip to Paris, I seized the opportunity of a get-away weekend at Shangri-La's Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa in Penang. I had another offer to visit the Cameron Highlands but, unfortunately, I can't be at two places at the same time.
We were whisked off from the launch of 'Every Baby a Book' at the Equatorial in Bukit Jambul by the loquacious Khor, who drove us to the doorstep of Rasa Wing, where we were warmly welcomed by Suleiman TAR, Rasa Sayang and Golden Sands' Director of Communications. While our luggages were checked-in by a personal conceierge, we sipped our complimentary cocktails, admired our welcome gift of white orchids and chatted with Suleiman in the exclusive Rasa Wing Lounge. Upon arrival at our spacious and stylishly decorated 1281 sq ft Rasa Premier Suite, we had our photo taken by the bell-hop and our needs taken care of by Syuen, our very own round-the-clock butler.
The suite has a separate parlour/sitting area, and a private balcony with a huge soaking tub facing the luxuriant garden and the ocean. Apart from having our nightly lavender and tuberose baths drawn by Syuen, we also took a dip at the Rasa Wing pool, next to the Chi Spa, where we were pampered to one of its signature spa therapies, aptly called Rasa Asmaradana.
Our neighbour was Chef Spinosi, who prepared his designer label pasta, Spinosini, for entree, main dish and dessert at our cozy dinner tete-a-tete with him and Suleiman at the Feringgi Grill.
Breakfast was a generous buffet spread at the Spice Market Cafe while high tea was a delightful sampling of canapes and fine teas at the garden terrace of the Rasa Wing Lounge. Lunching on Chef Salad and fruit juices at the Poolside Bar while watching people swimming, sun bathing or engaging themselves with recreational activities was a welcome reprieve after the spa treatment. We were indeed sad to bid farewell to Suleiman and his team who had been such hospitable hosts throughout our short stay at Rasa.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Critical Mass

A parade to raise awareness of bicycle use in KL on July 27 2007 at 6PM in front of Central Market. Spread the word and the love of our natural environment.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Launching of Citizen Think T@nk

Finally, the day arrived for the launching of Citizen Think T@nk on 21 July 2007 at Restoran Widuri, Aman Suria. Although about 30 people showed up, TV3's Bulletin Utama gave it priority coverage at 8pm. CTT was in the main news even before the first advertisement.
The launch was graced by the trustees and ardent supporters - Tan Sri Aziz, Dr. KJ John, YM Tengku Mahaleel, Edward Lee, Dr. Abu Bakar, Jeff Ooi, Bernard Khoo, Tony Pua, Wong Chin Huat, among others.
My fervent hope is for the initiative to signify the dawning of the Age of Knowledge Democracy and Knowledge-empowered Voters. Instead of resigning ourselves and lamenting about the lack of competent leaders, let us all strive to improve the performance of the incumbents and simultaneously identify the next generation of leaders so as to mitigate the problems of attrition and apathy. Give your support to this authentic e-community project via active virtual participation.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Peace Education

When I was a young scholar, I thought it was irrelevant for Prof Fatimah Hamidon to propose 'peace' research since we've never been a nation at war, well not since the Second World War or perhaps the Emergency.
Now I realised she was ahead of her time and there really is an urgent need to not only study but practice ways to promote and maintain peace within the family, the neighborhood, the community and so on.
The presentations were, on the whole, eye-opening and thought-provoking. Scholars from the ASEAN region shared their ideas, experiences and empirical findings from war-torn and conflict zones such as Acheh, Pattani and Mindanao.
I personally find Madeliene Sta Maria's and Faridah Noor's presentations on socio-cultural approaches/dialogic competencies and efforts in cultural archiving the most valuable for my own research on multiculturalism.

Friday, July 06, 2007

alias Grace @ KLPac

This is a must-see for all those who believe in giving voices to the subalterns, dead or alive. Kudos to Caroline Lee for her spell-binding performance that captivated the audience for 1 hour and 40 minutes. Walking away from the "Pandora's Box", I can't help feeling thankful for being born a woman in this day and age.
"Murderess. Murderess. The word rustles like a tafetta skirt across the floor."
In 1844 sixteen-year-old Grace Marks is convicted of the brutal murder of her employer and his pregnant mistress. Eight years later she is offered the chance to redeem herself, but telling a story is never an innocent act.
In her brilliant portrayal of the celebrated murderess in the play alias Grace, award-winning Australian actress Caroline Lee transforms into Marks in a performance as intimate as it is dangerous. The character is based on the real-life Grace Marks, one of the most notorious Canadian women of the 1840s.
Alias Grace, Margaret Atwood's multi-award winning novel, has been adapted for the stage by Laurence Strangio. The KL production is supported by the Australian Government, through the Australia International Cultural Council in commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of Relations between Malaysia and Australia.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Armstrong's Lecture, Tun Razak's Legacy & Menopause the Musical

It's been awhile since I last blogged. Just goes to show how busy I've been. Other than professional duties, I've also been occupied with the usual social rounds.
Of these, I could certainly recall the public lecture by Karen Armstrong at the Mandarin Oriental as well as Seminar Legasi Tun Abdul Razak at the Sime Darby Convention Center, both on June 16 2007, and, of course, Menopause the Musical at The Actors Studio @ BSC.
Many bloggers have written about the impact of the Armstrong lecture,
Karen Armstrong Promotes Silence, Non Violence and Compassion and Karen Armstrong in KL
among them. Of Armstrong's key messages about Silence, Non-Violence and Compassion, these simple phrases stuck in my mind:
"Look at your enemy in the eye, and try to find the Divine" (or something to that extent);
"Do not do unto others what you do not want others to do unto you” (attributed to Confucius);
"Cartharsis and weeping are crucial to spiritual cleansing" (or something of that sort).
Well, what can I say about Seminar Legasi Tun Razak? First, that my late father would surely turn in his grave had he known that I had consorted with "those colonial compradors". Secondly, it's really much ado about nothing; unless it's a run-up to the General Elections.

As for Menopause the Musical, I would suggest that males going through andropause to get out of that denial mode and take their wives and children to watch it. Ciao!