May 31, 2012

Mystery in the Palace..... and so the story continues.........

Beile Ge Tai returns to the palace bruised but otherwise fine. Han Xiang recuperates in Empress Dowager's palace and resumes investigations with the Crown Prince and also Beile Ge Tai on the side lines. Concubine Xuan gets worried and poisons Mr An, after Han Xiang and Beile paid him a visit. She had been hiding behind his rooms but Han Xiang suspected and spied to see her. On further investigations, she gets found out and arrested and confesses to her dastardly deeds and sentenced to death. However she made a break for freedom and was caught by the masked man instead and hung .
Imperial Concubine gets worried and tries to keep the Crown Prince from the investigations.
The Crown Princess starts picking on Chun Zhu and accuses her of stealing her vase, a supposed heirloom. Han Xiang rushes to Chun Zhu's rescue and pleads for time to investigate it. The Crown Princess agrees with the condition by the end of  3 days, if they could not find out where the vase was, Han Xiang would be exiled along with Chun Zhu.
Meanwhile, the mask man starts attention to Han Xiang as well and almost hangs her except for some intervention from Beile Ge Tai.
Her investigations bring Han Xiang to the doors of Concubine Jing. She became suspicious of concubine Jing and set watch on what was going on and learned that Concubine Jing had been stealing rare royal antiques and smuggling them out via the Buddha Matreya statue which comes by the palace once a year for her worship. Long ago, Princess Yidan found that out too and had quarreled with the concubine Jing and another princess  before she was murdered.
Concubine Jing was sentenced to stay in a far more deserted palace and her accomplice, the abbot of the Buddha Matreya was sentenced to prison for 10 years.
Han Xiang asks Concubine Jing about her knowledge of her mother and concubine Jing explained that she only got a letter from Princess Yidan after a while from when she disappeared saying she was in the temple and that the Imperial Concubine knew about it too.
She then went to ask the Imperial Concubine and got slapped. However, the Crown Prince told her to stop asking the Imperial Concubine.
Meanwhile, in King Lie's household, a guest appears. She is a nun and King Lie treats her with much respect and care, making Beile Ge Tai suspicious. It turns out that she could be his mother and he finds out that he is actually adopted, as per his so called brothers' teasing and becomes pretty much upset. He runs off but comes across Han Xiang delivering some medication for him., and tells her. When Han Xiang finds out he is adopted and a nun was involved, her worse fears come true and she begins keeping her distance again, declaring that she only cared for Beile Ge Tai as a good friend and nothing more. Beile Ge Tai kisses her in frustration trying to proof to both of them that she has feelings for him and she slaps him and runs off back to the palace in search of Ms Tong to cry. Beile returns home and vents his frustrations in the martial arts room.
King Lie looks for Beile Ge Tai and explains the truth to him. The nun, Mah Guo Er is in fact his real sister, who was once a Princess . She had fallen in love with a wrong person, and tried to hang herself when the Emperor forced her to marry someone else. She then was imprisoned and King Lie had helped her escape. She then disappeared and the Emperor to cover it up announced that the Princess was dead. She only appeared a year or so later with a baby that she gave to King Lie , making him promise to raise the child like his own. That baby was Ge Tai .
Ge Tai then accepted it and apologised to both King Lie and his mother. However when he asked his mother about who his real father really was, she refused to tell him.
Knowing of the conflicts between Ge Tai and Han Xiang, Mah Guo Er, sets out towards the palace to try to meet Han Xiang to set things right.
Han Xiang then learns from both  the Empress Dowager and Mah Guo Er later on that Ge Tai shares the same birthday as her but he is one year older then her.
Meanwhile, Crown Princess stills tries to get Crown Prince's attention but fails, making her more embittered. Crown Prince gets into a drunken spree with Babu and Bo Hai , King Lie's sons and into an argument with Han Xiang which was reported back to the Crown Princess by Chun Zhu!!!
When Ge Tai learns that Mah Guo Er, his mother has set off to the palace, he panicks and goes in search for her.. The Crown Prince, Tuo He Gi (his aide), Ba bu and Bo Hai sees Ge Tai and proceeds to beat him up, out of spite and jealousy...
Mah Guo Er and Han Xiang set out to look for Ge Tai and brought him to the embroidery shop to recuperate on finding him badly injured. Han Xiang then begs for forgiveness and admits it has been difficult for her too and that she wants badly to be with him. Ge Tai tells her the truth that Mah Guo Er is actually his mother and King Lie's sister, and swore her to secrecy.
However they made the fact that they were officially seeing each other public and Chun Zhu went to report to the Crown Princess  along with the fact that Ms Tong was still looking at the jade seal belonging to Yi Dan. Crown Princess tried to cooked up a plan and demanded that she tell the Crown Prince who threw a hissy fit. Even Tuo He Gi scolded Chun Zhu saying that she was betraying her best friend but Chun Zhu selfishly said she only looked out for herself.
Meantime the Emperor disappears and was taken by bandits . He pretended to be a prince/Beile instead. However the bandits wanted to kill him, knowing his real identity, hoping to raise the spirit of Concubine Huan, who was actually the bandit leader's girl friend.
At the same time, Ge Tai and Han Xiang acted out a charade in front of the empress saying that Concubine Jing and Imperial Concubine knew where Yi Dan was but did not want to say much. Empress Dowager got upset and summoned the Imperial Concubine to question her. Imperial Concubine then admitted that the Emperor was the one who ordered her not to tell the Empress Dowager. In their stress, both the Imperial Concubine and Empress Dowager fell ill.
The Emperor returned to the palace and finally admitted everything to his mother, including the part that Yi Dan was carrying his baby and he just knew about it.
Waking up in a fever, Empress Dowager called for Yi Dan, mistaking Han Xiang for Yi Dan and Han Xiang just held on to the Empress Dowager, comforting her. She then went to the kitchen to get some asthma soup for the Empress Dowager but got trapped in one of the rooms by the man in black/masked man, who proceeded to locked the doors and tried to burn down the place as he did Yi Dan. This incited nightmares in the Empress Dowager as well.
Han Xiang inhaled a lot of poisonous fumes and fainted into a coma. A kitchen staff went in seach of something saw it and went to get help, almost knocking into Beile Ge Tai. Ge Tai then knocked the doors down and found Han Xiang in the corner and took her to the Empress Dowager's palace for medical attention. The physicians however found her too weak and asked for her to be transfered to the hospital.
Chun Zhu again went to report to the Crown Princess who was delighted at the news, as well as stealing the jade seal report to pass it to the Crown Princess.
Meantime, Ge Tai went to the Shuangdong (or something like that)temple and pleaded for Han Xiang's life, willingly cutting his life shorter. The abbot told him nothing can be done, but if he wanted to try, he had to bow and walk down a street. The news reached Aunt Rong and the other embroderers in the town and they agreed to follow Ge Tai to do it too, if it meant being able to help Han Xiang live.....

The Okiagari Koboushi. .

A welcome gift from our Japanese tour guide on behalf of the Tokyo Convention  and Visitors Bureau .
This Okiagari Koboushi is a handmade doll from Sendai and the surrounding area. It is a.symbol of good luck, health and tenacity as it always returns to an upright position when tipped over.
My daughter had fun "bullying" the doll spinning stand pushing it over. . .

Asakusa Kannon Temple and Nakamise Shopping Street

The second place on our itinerary which we visited.... the Asakusa Kannon Temple...
Asakusa Kannon Temple, which is also known as “Sensoji” is a Buddhist temple located in Asakusa, Taito, Tokyo. Sensoji was built in 645 A.D with the finest Japanese architecture. Asakusa is a famous district in Tokyo, Japan located in the center of Shitmachi which literally means “low town” or “low city”. Asakusa is very well known for various temples in which Asakusa Kannon Temple is the most famous and also the oldest temple of Tokyo.

Kokyogaien - National Gardens and Imperial Palace in Tokyo

The first place we visited on my trip to Tokyo.... the Kokyogaien- National Gardens and Imperial Palace... very breathtaking...  =)



 Japanese Black Pines - there are approximately 2000 Japanese Black Pine trees planted in the National Garden Plaza area..
The Japanese Black Pines woodland is considered to be one of the finest views in the National Gardens. The first of it was planted back in 1888....

Chin Xin-Ci's harrowing and narrow escape on the 27th May 2012

As I sit here writing this, I am just so grateful to be alive.

To think that 30 hours ago I had a knife to my throat, face to face with the threat of being kidnapped and raped.

It was a Sunday, at 5.22PM. I was alone, walking towards my boyfriend's car in level B2 of The Curve, Mutiara Damansara. He was not in town, and I was running errands with his car. Just as I was putting my shopping bags in the rear seat, the rear car door was slammed against my back, and a meat cleaver was pressed against my throat. A man covered my mouth with his hand, and whispered not to scream. He then shoved me onto the floor of the backseat of the car and waved the cleaver at me, reminding me not to scream. He was skinny, wearing a baggy turqoise blue t-shirt, had a thick moustache and short curly hair, approx 5'8", mid-30s, and of Indian descent.

At this moment, second man appeared. He was also in his mid-30s. He was wearing a red t-shirt, had a crewcut, and was of Malay descent. He grabbed my car keys and demanded for my parking ticket. I couldn't remember where it was. They shoved me deeper into the car, and the Indian man got into the back seat with me, while the Malay man got into the driver's seat, driving us out of the carpark.

I told them they could take everything, just let me go. But at that point they didn't even ask for money. Instead, the Indian man started to make sexual advances. Then it hit me. "Oh my God. Oh my God. This is really happening. I'm being kidnapped.. and I think I know what they want."

//

From this moment on, there were a few crucial things that happened that I think is the reason I'm alive today.

1. I managed to get into a position to escape.
When they got into the car, the Indian man had tried to force my body down onto the floor. I knew that the moment I'm on the floor, there would be no chance of escape. So I begged him to let me sit up. I promised him I wouldn't scream or alert anyone's attention. Thankfully, he trusted me, and let me sit up, gripping my arm tightly. Then I told him my arm really hurt and to please not grip it so hard. He loosened his grip.

2. I did not fight for the sake of fighting.
I was in an enclosed space, with no clear escape route. I would never win in a fight with these 2 guys, especially when they have sharp weapons. Had I fought from the get go, I may not have been in a position to escape. I might've even been knocked out cold, and God only knows where I would be right now.

3. I was lucky and sneaky.
I knew that the only way to escape, was to jump out of the car, even if it was moving. They had locked the car doors. So I leaned back, pretended to scratch my hair, and shakily unlocked the door I was leaning against. I'm so lucky they did not see or hear this!

4. I went 'crazy' at the right time.
And then I waited. I knew that the car would have to slow down outside the parking lot, as it exits to merge with the main roads. The moment it slowed down, I opened the car door and tried to make a run for it. I failed. I kicked my legs out of the car, but the Indian man had managed to pull my body back in. From this moment on, everything is a blur. I remember the Malay driver temporarily stopping the car, leaning over from the driver's seat and attempting to close the door and pull my legs in. At that point I remember thinking, "Even if I don't get out now, I need to keep the door open and my legs out the door. At the very least, it should cause a scene, and someone would see me. Or, the door might hit another car and they'll be forced to slow down." So I continued kicking. My right foot pushed against the wide-open car door to keep it open. I recall elbowing, struggling, kicking, and even biting. I lost my glasses, and was struggling blindly for my life. At some point the Malay driver yelled, "BAGI DIA LEPAS! BAGI DIA LEPAS!" (Let her go! Let her go!) and the Indian man loosened his grip. I made a jump out of the still-moving car, and ran for my life.

5. I acted in spite of the fear.
My friends said I was brave. But I didn't feel like it. I was quivering and shaking in fear. I was so afraid. I thought I was going to die. I was weak with fear and deathly afraid. I truly thought "this was it". But I knew I HAD to move. I had to run. Or there would be a worser fate in store for me. While I was quaking in fear, I forced myself to look around and see if there was any way I could escape, or even catch someone's eye.

6. I remembered the people I love.
The only thing that matters when you're faced with potentially horrendous fate, is the people in your life. When I felt the knife to my neck, the first thing I thought was , "This cannot be happening. I must be dreaming." The second? The people that truly matter to me flashed across my mind. It sounds cliche, but it's true. I thought of my parents. My brother. Khailee. Esther. More people. That's all I could think of for a few moments, before I thought, "Shit. I need to get out of here."

//

I ran towards the Maybank outlet at the Curve. There were plenty of people milling around. I screamed for help over and over again. I was hysterical. I grabbed an older Malay man by his shoulders and begged for help before practically collapsing at his feet.

I will always remember the relief and liberation I felt, running over Mutiara Damansara's manicured grass and into the crowd.

//

Today, I found out that the entire ordeal from the moment I left the parking ticket payment machine, to my escape, happened in about 4 minutes. To me, it felt like one long nightmare.

We never think its going to happen to us... and then it does. I used to think that this is something that happens only in the papers and to people far, far removed from me. But then it did happen to me. I moved to PJ/KL 6 years ago, and I've spent countless mornings, afternoons and nights at The Curve. When my friends and I were organizing Rock Up! back in 2008, we were walking around the place at 4AM even. It's been 6 years, and never once did I feel that I was unsafe at The Curve. Until yesterday.

I feel like moving out of the country ASAP. Getting the hell out of this state where you hear of a kidnapping or attempted one every month (remember Nayati?), or a snatch theft every week. And yet I'm fully aware of the fact that in another country with more lax firearm laws, they would've been holding a gun to my head, not a cleaver. And that would've been so, so much worse.

I'm Blessed. By God's grace, I am alive and relatively well. And I will live another day to build another cat iPhone app. It just was not my time to go. And for that, I thank God.
I want to share this story with everyone because cops tell me that they rarely get to hear it from someone who escapes.

Girls, be so very careful. Be vigilant, and please try not to go anywhere alone. If you need to walk to the carpark, and you're alone, get a guard to go with you. I was recently told that it's part of their job description to assist anyone if needed.

Guys, watch out for your girlfriends, wives, mothers, sisters and friends. Walk with them, don't take their paranoia or fear lightly. Watch out for them.

And everyone, just watch out for each other. Take care of each other. These things really DO happen. As I ran out of the car, so many people came to help me. Strangers who didn't know who I was, came forward and offered me tissue paper, water, cellphones, and general comfort.

Malaysians, please care for one another. You already do. Just keep on caring. Keep watching out for each other. Don't worry about being thought of as "busy body" or "overreacting". The world can be a cruel place, but all it takes is for people to care for one another to make all the difference.


May 24, 2012

Mystery in the palace. . . Story continuation. . . . .


Xue Yan in her glory as the fake princess, continued to be a tyrant but acted sweetly in front of the empress dowager and emperor. The masked man starts following her.
The empress dowager then urge Xue Yan to get married. After coyly pretending she did not want to get married, she told the Empress Dowager she wanted Beile Ge Tai. The Empress Dowager agreed and told the Emperor who made the edict. Beile Ge Tai was horrified and begged his father to try to get him out of marrying Xue Yan.
Meanwhile his brothers get irritated and think they should be the one marrying Xue Yan and goes to try to flatter her. King Lie tried to excuse his son from the marriage citing misfortune in his past relationship with the Princess Yi Dan, but the emperor waved it off and said he would formally adopt Xue Yan so she will be an imperial princess and Beike Ge Tai and King Lie will be directly related to the emperor.
One night before the adoption ceremony, Xue Yan had her bath. She made Han Xiang deliver her garments and wait outside the bathroom for 2 hours on her knees.
After the two hours, Han Xiang cried that she could not bear it any longer. The ladies in waiting then agreed to try to check with Xue Yan but only to find her dead.
The court doctor pronounced the death as accidental drowing which Han Xiang did not agree. She decided to do a little investigation of her own. The crown prince learns of it and decided to join her in the hope of getting closer to her, getting official permission from his father, the Emperor. With the crown prince by her side, Han Xiang starts her investigation with her most likely suspect, concubine Xuan and the two servants she loan Xue Yan. Concubine Xuan who has a lot of secrets if her own gets worried and seeks mr An's advice and then she went to the crown princess who was jealous of and had a grudge on Han Xiang and tokd her that the crown Prince was very close to Han Xiang and hinted that he might take her as his concubine.
The Crown Princess was upset and angry, but concubine Xuan stopped her from attacking the crown prince and instead try to set a trap for Han Xiang. She brought her dress and a thousand pearls to the Clothing storage and ordered Han Xiang to prepare her dress embroidered and inlayed with the pearls in just a day and that Han Xiang be held accountable for any mistakes.
Han Xiang worked the whole night through with the help of 4 other girls and Beile Ge Tai who brought her some cakes.
During the next day, at the worshipping ceremony when all the royals attended, the crown princess wore the dress with the pearls and with a smile, purposely tore the thread holding the pearls so the the pearls fell and scattered causing servants bearing gifts and items for worship to fall and chaos to everyone's shock.
The Emperor was duly notified and he sentenced poor Han Xiang to 100 strokes of the rotan and to stripped of her job and be exiled 200 miles away from the palace. Beile Ge Tai went to plead with the Empress Dowager who tried to reason with the Emperor, but the Emperor said it was out of his hand, and he couldn't do anything about it or risk looking like an idiot in front of his subjects. The Empress Dowager then accused her son of killing Han Xiang and he was stunned, saying he did not sentence her to die. She then told him a frail girl like Han Xiang could not stand being beaten up 100 times.  He then gave the order then it should be separated into 20 strokes of beating for 5 days.
Han Xiang gets beaten 20 strokes and faints. Beile Ge Tai and the Empress Dowager's servant tended to her with medicine and pain killers.
The Empress Dowager then sent Beile Ge Tai on the mission to retrieve her family amnesty tablet so she could use it to save Han Xiang. However the Crown Prince hears about it and goes after it , too, in the hope of being Han Xiang's hero. Concubine Xuan hears about it and consults Mr An who then send a group of thugs to capture/kill Beile Ge Tai and take the amnesty tablet away. Beile Ge Tai got the amnesty tablet and the Crown Prince demands that he hands it over, but Beile Ge Tai apologized and tried to escape saying it was under the  Empress Dowager's orders he was taking it. When the crown prince and his aide (still can't remember his name) chased Beile Ge Tai, the three of them got attacked by Mr An's thugs . In the fray, Beile Ge Tai manage to run away and the head thug ran after him.
Beile Ge Tai saw a woodcutter in the forest and quickly begged the man to send it to the palace and ran away again. He was then shortly caught by the thugs and locked up.
Meanwhile, Han Xiang gets beaten bloody for the second time and the doctor the Empress Dowager sends said that she could die if beaten again.
The Crown prince rescues Beile Ge Tai and Beile Ge Tai thanked him. He demanded the amnesty tablet in return but Beile Ge Tai regretfully told him that he had sent it along. The Crown Prince got into a huff and said he won't have rescued Beile Ge Tai had he knew that.
The woodcutter was stopped and denied entry at the palace. Fortunately Ms Tong was passing by and saw him and heard his message and quickly took the amnesty tablet to the punishment room where Han Xiang was being beaten again and stopped the punishment.
The Emperor was furious and would have had Ms Tong punished as well but the Empress Dowager stopped him and said she was the one who sent for it. The Emperor then acquiesed but said that Han Xiang should be thrown 200 miles away from the palace. The Empress Dowager stopped him again demanding Han Xiang as her companion and servant.. The Emperor then agreed with his mother and ordered Han Xiang away to Ning Shou palace (the Empress  Dowager's palace) where the Empress Dowager then had her doctor and maids treat Han Xiang. Then they started querying about Beile Ge Tai's disappearance......

May 23, 2012

One more day. . .

I am pretty excited over this trip I am making tomorrow.  I have been dreaming of visiting Japan since I heard about it and am proud of myself as well as thankful to all my supportive investors for achieving this last year.
It is also my first long distance travel since I've remarried.
Don't get me wrong, I am reasonably well travelled in my past. Have been to Ireland, Denmark, UK, France, Germany, Netherlands, USA, Hong Kong, Singapore,Thailand, Australia, Indonesia and am still.planning on.places to go. . But this trip is special as I have always somewhat been fascinated with Japanese culture, both their gentleness, gracefulness and even cruelty. Their power, their history, costumes, etc. . .
Well, I am also meeting up a Japanese friend, Misae, there, so pretty excited about it too. . .
Watch this space as I will be blogging about my trip and will have lots of pictures to share. .

May 17, 2012

Mystery in the palace. . . Continuation of the story. . .

Han Xiang and her friend/room mate was ordered thrown into prison reluctantly by the crown prince. His aide then gave him the idea of how he could possibly use the situation to get Han Xiang. During the trial in front of both the Empress Dowager, the Emperor, and Crown Princess, Han Xiang tried to free Chun Zu ( her friend/room mate) and take the blame on herself. Both the Empress Dowager and the Emperor were very reluctant to have to execute Han Xiang as they liked her a lot.
The Crown Princess demanded justice for her "lost child" , and the Crown Prince Yinreng then declared that since Han Xiang caused him to lose his child, she should bear him a child in replacement and that he wanted her as wife/concubine.
The Dowager Empress thought it a good idea but of course, the jealous Crown Princess vehemently disagreed and demanded death for Han Xiang (after all she plotted this out, didn't she).
Annoyed at being unable to reach an agreement, the Emperor ordered the prisoners back to the prison.
Beile (Prince) Ge Tai heard about it and begged an audience with the Empress Dowager and told her that he had evidence and could clear Han Xiang of charges since the Crown Princess earlier said Han Xiang was guilty because of a slipper thrown at her which Han Xiang admitted was hers to save her friends and colleagues from more trouble.
The Empress Dowager then called for yet another trial and Chun Zu admitted the slipper was hers after Beile Ge Tai made Han Xiang wear the slipper which was not her size.
Meanwhile reports reached the Storage of Clothing and the embroiders heard what happened. Mu Er, broke a cup in her guilt inciting suspicion. Xue Yan made excuses for her quickly and dragged Mu Er back to their room and told her to keep calm and be silent and allow Han Xiang to just take the blame. Ms Tong and two other girls who had followed them heard that conversation and immediately broke into the room to seize Mu Er and take her to the Emperor.
Mu Er then admitted throwing the shoe but towards Han Xiang, not the Crown Princess, and begged for mercy.
Han Xiang was then aquitted from the trial and both Mu Er and Chun Zu were sentenced to be imprisoned for the rest of their lives.
Han Xiang was sad over the incident.
King Lie, Beile Ge Tai's father got mysteriously ill. None of the palace doctors could understand what happened to him. Finally, Han Xiang visited him and quickly deduced that King Lie must have taken some poisonous black mushroom from her hometown. Both the doctors who could not make out the illness and Beile Ge Tai's brothers were sceptical and threaten to kill both Beile Ge Tai and Han Xiang if anything went wrong.
Han Xiang asked for some thorny bamboo shoots boiled into a medicinal soup and fed King Lie that. He threw up black blood shortly and Beile Ge Tai's brother demanded the palace guards to take both their younger brother and that lowly embroider to prison. However, a weak plea came from King Lie and the doctor at hand checked his pulse and found him getting better.
The Emperor was gleeful when he heard about it and asked Han Xiang what she wanted for a reward. Han Xiang asked for yet another trial for Chun Zu and Mu Er. Both she and Beile Ge Tai went to get evidence to clear the girls. They found it in the pharmacy /doctor's logwhere Doctor Cao had logged in actual date for the Crown Princess miscarriage.
Faced with the truth, the evidence and the promise of a.lighter sentence if he told the truth, Doctor Cao then confessed to everything and told the Emperor and Empress Dowager how he was forced to do it by the Crown Princess.
The Crown Princess was called for and reprimanded by both the Emperor and the Empress Dowager. She begged for mercy and said it was because her husband kept on chasing after Han Xiang, and it was why she wanted to do away with the girl. The Emperor then asked the Crown Prince to slap his wife several times. And as for Doctor Cao, he was stripped of his titles and force to be an ordinary citizen.
Chun Zu, Mu Er and everyone is happy and praises both Han Xiang and Beile Ge Tai, except for Xue Yan who screams, rage and plot on how to bring Han Xiang down.
Ms Tong then notices Beile Ge Tai's similar jade butterfly when he accidently dropped it. She went pale and the next day she went in search of Han Xiang's adoptive parents and told them the problem. They then agreed to tell Han Xiang the truth. Next day Ms Tong took Han Xiang out to the village in pretext of buying something. Sensing something, Xue Yan followed.under Crown Princess's permission.
Ms Tong and Han Xiang's adoptive parents then brought out the jade seal and told Han Xiang the truth. Ms Tong also explained her suspicion of Beile Ge Tai's relationship to Han Xiang and told Han Xiang she should keep him at arm's length as he could very well be her twin brother.
Han Xiang started avoiding Beile Ge Tai and cries with disappointment while Beile Ge Tai is also confused and hurt by her change of reaction and coldness. He tries to get to the bottom of it. . . 
Finally Ms Tong told Beile Ge Tai that Han Xiang had some identity dispute and was in danger. She also needed time alone to processed what she had learn. Beile Ge Tai agreed and left .
Han Xiang was voted by the Storage of Clothing to design and make a wedding dress for one of the princesses. She was accompanied by Chun Zu and Mu Er who since her release has been Han Xiang's good friend.
Bitter, Xue Yan, plotted and planned. And when Han Xiang returned to her room, she went to Han Xiang's room in the pretext of repenting her animosity of Han Xiang and wanting to be Han Xiang's friend. She half forced Han Xiang into imbibing a lot of wine. Han Xiang fell into a stupored sleep and Xue Yan searched Han Xiang's room for the jade seal. She found it and stole it.
When Han Xiang could not wake up the next day, she pretended that she was sorry for what she had done and offered her own services to attend to the Dowager Empress. Ms  Tong, faced with not knowing what to do, allowed Xue Yan that task. Xue Yan then entered the Ningshou Palace and presented the designs, got the princess's measurements and when dismissed, she oh so 'accidently' dropped the jade seal where she knew the Dowager Empress would see, and pretended that it had been her birthright all this while.
Without much doubt, the Dowager Empress then accepted Xue Yan into their fold and elevated her to the rank Princess .
The Crown Princess was the only one with some doubts but when she pretended to offer 'Princess' Xue Yan some gifts to see her privately, Xue Yan turned the tables with some threats and took off with all of the Crown Princess jewellery. She also went on the tyraniccal spree and slapped servants and ex co workers who did not acknowledge her as 'Princess'. She then went to the Storage of Clothing and snubbed Han Xiang and stepped on Han Xiang's hands hard  after ordering  Han Xiang to make her some dresses in 10 days or be punished. (grrr... really feel like slapping her!!!!!!)

May 12, 2012

Additional place to go .... upcoming Tokyo trip

This came as a last minute add on to our upcoming Tokyo trip....

Meiji Jingu /Meiji Shrine

A torii gate along the forested approach to Meiji Shrine
Meiji Shrine (明治神宮, Meiji Jingū) is a shrine dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his consort, Empress Shoken. Located just beside the JR Yamanote Line's busy Harajuku Station, Meiji Shrine and the adjacent Yoyogi Park make up a large forested area within the densely built-up city. The spacious shrine grounds offer walking paths that are great for a relaxing stroll.
The shrine was completed and dedicated to the Emperor Meiji and the Empress Shoken in 1920, eight years after the passing of the emperor and six years after the passing of the empress. The shrine was destroyed during the Second World War but was rebuilt shortly thereafter.
Emperor Meiji was the first emperor of modern Japan. He was born in 1852 and ascended to the throne in 1867 at the peak of the Meiji Restoration when Japan's feudal era came to an end and the emperor was restored to power. During the Meiji Period, Japan modernized and westernized herself to join the world's major powers by the time Emperor Meiji passed away in 1912.

The offering hall of Meiji Jingu
The main complex of shrine buildings is located a ten minute walk from both the southern entrance near Harajuku Station and the northern entrance near Yoyogi Station. Entry into the shrine grounds is marked by a massive torii gate, after which the sights and sounds of the busy city are replaced by a tranquil forest. The approximately 100,000 trees that make up Meiji Jingu's forest were planted during the shrine's construction and were donated from regions across the entire country.
At the middle of the forest, Meiji Jingu's buildings also have an air of tranquility distinct from the surrounding city. Visitors to the shrine can take part in typical Shinto activities, such as making offerings at the main hall, buying charms and amulets or writing out one's wish on an ema.
Meiji Jingu is one of the Japan's most popular shrines. In the first days of the New Year, the shrine regularly welcomes more than three million visitors for the year's first prayers (hatsumode), more than any other shrine or temple in the country. During the rest of the year, traditional Shinto weddings can often be seen taking place there.

At the northern end of the shrine grounds visitors will come across the Meiji Jingu Treasure House, which was constructed one year after the shrine was opened. The Treasure House displays many interesting personal belongings of the Emperor and Empress, including the carriage which the emperor rode to the formal declaration of the Meiji Constitution in 1889. There is also a Museum Annex Building just to the east of the main shrine buildings that displays temporary exhibitions.
A large area of the southern section of the shrine grounds is taken up by the Inner Garden, which requires an entrance fee to enter. The garden becomes particularly popular during the middle of June when the irises are in bloom. A small well located within the garden, Kiyomasa's Well, is named after a military commander who dug it around 400 years ago. The well was visited by the Emperor and Empress while they were alive and has become a popular spiritual "power spot".

The Meiji Jingu Treasure House
 
 
Interesting place to visit... but I prefer my Tokyo Disneyland!!!!!!!! I wanna go to Tokyo Disneyland!!!!!!

Mystery in the Palace (the story sooo far.... and some pictures.....)

So Han Xiang enters the palace as an embroider under the care of supervisor Ms Tong. She however gets an enemy rival in Xue Yan who was both bitter because she lost to Han Xiang and also because she was interested in Beile Ge Tai but the Beile Ge Tai was more interested and protective over Han Xiang.
Xue Yan and her partner/ room mate would create all kind of problems (like throwing a shoe at the Crown Princess, changing the design of a peony to a peonia, which happened to be a taboo for the empress dowager) for Han Xiang and her partner/room mate but fortunately she would triumph over them with the help of Ms Tong, Beile Ge Tai and the Crown Prince.
The Crown Prince was determine to get Han Xiang as his concubine or 2nd wife but was fouled by Ms Tong and Beile Ge Tai's quick actions, something the pregnant Crown Princess was really angry about and she blamed Han Xiang for it and so up to date, there are 4 main characters going after Han Xiang (poor girl and she does not know it) - the Emperor's concubine who took advantage of the situation between the Emperor and Princess Yi Dan and  got her mother killed, the mysterious masked man who is still after Han Xiang, the Crown Princess and Xue Yan.
Years ago, Ms Tong was a personal servant to Princess Yi Dan before Ying Er, the personal servant/lady in waiting who had lived long enough to hand Han Xiang to the peasant couple to raise. She was very good at embroidery and so Princess Yi Dan had recommended her to be an embroiderer and Ying Er had replaced her then as the personal servant or lady in waiting. When she was promoted, Ms Tong had given the Princess Yi Dan two jade butterflies, one blue and one pink. These butterflies were then given to each of the twin she gave birth before the Princess Yi Dan got killed at the monastery. One of these butterflies was given to Han Xiang , and Ms Tong noted the resemblance and the butterfly and tried to get to the bottom of it, and she found out the truth that Han Xiang was adopted by the peasant couple. She then urged Han Xiang to hide the jade butterfly.
However , we see that Beile Ge Tai has a similar jade butterfly in blue. (Oh dear.....can he be Han Xiang's missing twin? If not, how did he get the jade butterfly? If yes, who took him to the palace and raise him? arrgghhhhh.......)
The Crown Princess in her blind jealousy got Xue Yan in as her co plotter and in her evil plotting, tripped and fell, miscarriaging her baby. She was in tears and threatened the doctor who told her that her fetus could not be saved and then Xue Yan came out with the idea and they tried to frame Han Xiang for the deed/cause. 


More pictures /stills to share...












May 11, 2012

Mystery In The Palace trailer video...

Mystery in the Palace

Again I hook myself on a new series... sighh.......  this is so intriguing and seemingly incestous...
Ok... the story so far from me, from what I see, watch and understand.....

The series began with the emperor drinking with some officials and also the Princess Yi Dan, getting drunk as well. Then there was this wanna be concubine who paid of one of the court's official for an opportunity to 'sleep' with the emperor. Somehow along the way when her sedan was being carried and waiting for the emperor to return, she needed to go pee and went off while a drunk princess Yi Dan wanting to get back to her palace entered the sedan she mistaken for hers and the sedan bearers took the sedan to the Emperor's palace. Princess Yi Dan then went to bed after stripping off her clothes thinking it was her own bed and when the Emperor returned, he saw her naked and thought she was there for him and so had his way with her. She awoke later and ran away after realising what had happened while the scheming wanna be concubine who came to the palace then saw and took the opportunity to pretend that she was the one the Emperor slept with and had taken her virginity.
The Emperor awoke, saw her and of course elevated her. She had a problem which that she was still a virgin and got the official whom she bribed to get a man to help her get rid of her virginity and then had the man killed and the soldiers involved killed too.
Meanwhile Princess Yi Dan who was then engaged to King Lie finds she could not go through her engagement with the King and ran away from home refusing to see the Emperor or the King (her fiance)
King Lie found her, brought her home and told her he wanted to know what had transpired and no matter what he would still want to be with her but she found out she was pregnant, and that her parents wanted her to abort the baby and ran away to a monastery with just a lady in waiting and gave birth.
Someone was watching and after she had given birth  to twins, the monastery was under attack and all the nuns were slaughtered and the monastery burnt. Trying to save her babies, she gave one baby to her lady in awaiting with a jade butterfly and a seal and the lady in waiting ran away. Princess Yi Dan presumingly died in the fire holding one of her babies. A masked man chased the lady in waiting and she fell into a ravine to be rescued by some peasants. She was badly hurt, but she passed the baby and the jade butterfly and seal to the peasant woman and begged her to look after the baby before dying.
Years passed and the baby grew up to be known as Han Xiang, strongly resembling her mother the Princess Yi Dan. She was a very skilled embroiderer and was sent to enter a competition to be selected as one of the embroiderers in the royal palace.Along the way she met Beile Ge Tai who fell in love with her and also the crown prince who at once determined he had to have her. (There lies the mystery as the crown prince would be her half brother from the emperor and Ge Tai in later episodes might just be her twin brother....and these two men are determine to try to save her, or get her )
Will write more later.........




Title: 深宫谍影 / Shen Gong Die Ying
English title: Mystery in the Palace
Genre: Suspense, period drama, palace politics
Episodes: 40
Broadcast network: TBA
Broadcast period: TBA
Air time: TBA
Synopsis

A drama about the court conspiracies and politics between the royal wives, princes, and officials during the reign of Kang Xi.
When Princess Yi Dan fell with her brother, Emperor Kang Xi, in a night of passion, she left the palace out of remorse and guilt. She gave birth to Han Xiang and was murdered by a mastermind. Han Xiang grew up and entered the palace as a maid in search of her roots and her mother's murderer. There, she became entangled in the palace's conflicts and competition. Prince Ge Tai falls in love with her and, despite the taboo it might implicate, Han Xiang can't help but reciprocate his love.
Cast

Gan Ting Ting as Han Xiang / Princess Yi Dan
Kevin Cheng as Prince Ge Tai
Michelle Yim as Empress Dowager
Liu Ting Yu as Crown Prince's consort
Zhang Dan Feng as Yin Reng (Crown Prince)
Catherine Hung as Tong Si Ku
Ni Qi Min (倪齐民) as Emperor Kang Xi
Zhang Zhao Hui (张兆辉) as Ta Er
Florence Tan as Consort Xuan
Mu Ting Ting as Consort Hui
Liu Na Ping (刘娜萍) as Xue Yan
Fang Shu Zhen (方数真) as Chun Zhu
Bernice Liu as Consort Wang
Gong Yuan (宫媛) as Zhu Er
Hao Ze Jia (郝泽嘉) as Wu Lan
Ayoko Chen (陈威翰) as Eunuch Wang
Deng Jie (邓婕) as Tuo Ge Qi
Xu Jiao Ning (许娇宁) as Consort Dong E (guest star)
Production Credits

Screenwriter: Fang Hong Ren (方泓仁)
Producer: Chen Chun Xia (陈春霞)
Directors: Liu Feng Sheng (刘逢声), Xu Hui Kang (徐惠康)





May 9, 2012

Cheap effective facial care

I have used a variety of facial care products from branded and expensive to the affordable. This is extremely value for money and amazing. It is a made from the sea cucumber or gamat as many locals know which is well known for their amazing healing properties and it is so cheap everyone can use it!!
I have in the picture, a bottle of 'air ' (pronounced 'are year') gamat and a small packet of bedak  sejuk given the name the miracle of clay. This is"clay" is made from rice powder and sea cucumber extracts and is great on it's own but if coupled with a bottle of air gamat, even more amazing.
All I do is break a small piece of the clay and add some of the 'air' gamat and mix it together and then apply on face, put slightly more on pimples or the nose area.
It is an amazing mask and can be worn to sleep but only setback, like all powders, might/will leave powdery residues  on clothes or pillow but it is easily washed off.
Want to get some? Ask me and I can help you get some or point you the right direction. . .

May 3, 2012

a scary but true wedding story......

A sarcastic priest at a wedding: "We are gathered here in the presence of God and men to join these people in holy matrimony.
...
We know they have been sleeping together in secret but now they can do it with the knowledge of everyone. And as marriage is Holy, at least in theory, I put it forth that if there is anyone in this gathering who has a valid reason why these two should not be joined, speak now, or forever hold your peace. Anyone...? Is there anyone.....?? C'mon, he must have slept with some of you?
Someone....?
Anyone....????
I know someone here has slept with her too...
Well, I guess they were all one night stands."





Moving on swiftly....

"Mr Groom, do you take this woman as your lawfully wedded bride, to love to cherish and to hold, to listen to her whinning halfway through the night, always suck up to her father, to always lose an argument or else... to give all your pay without reservations, to be the worker while she is the minister of finance, to ignore your relatives while taking care of hers, to listen to unending lies about her having a headache when you really need to release steam, put up with PMS...Sometimes faked... till death do you part?

(I do.....???)

Very well.
And do you Miss Bride, take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband, to love to cherish and to hold, to open your legs for whether tired, or not, whether willing or not. To cook for, clean up after, give up watching soaps and anything interesting when there is football, find the toilet seat up everytime, Clean pee of it, take care of kids alone, house your in laws, bring beers for his friends during any important game for all the days of your life?

(I do...?.......????)

Well then, if there's nothing more that I can say that will change your minds ... I pronounce you husband and wife. What God has joined, let no man, neighbour, handsome workmate, barmaid, beer brand, ex's, in-laws, milkman, samba-boy, wet dreams, driver or sexy secretary put asunder.

You may now kiss the bride....!!!!!! "

(got this off facebook which a friend: Ema posted in one of the groups we were in....)

of local McDreamys and etc.....

I've been to Putrajaya hospital for quite a while now now but none of the doctors or nurses , although they were pretty supportive and outstanding in service were of much interest to me until now... hehehe... either my inner cougar instincts have been stoked or well, it is as it has always been, I'm an admirer for beauty and always on the look out for eye-candy... both male or female....
My mom got called back to see the orthopaedic specialists yesterday (Wednesday..) for a second opinion on her bone fracture, and I had to be with her at the consulting room, the x-ray room, ecg room, plaster /procedure room..... and I saw a few yummy looking doctors.... hehehe
One of them was one of my mom's consulting doctors and he was pretty good looking, a veritable McDreamy. McDreamy is movie star or at least TV star handsome... and he looks somewhat like one of our local actors... Erry Putra....
Hmmm...... then there was one of the specialist which was quite good looking too and had a great sense of humour, one that my mom and her friend liked a lot.. I think he would be one of her surgeons...
ok.... this blog is all about gushing nonsense.... that's all.. LOL

this is Erry Putra, our local Malaysian actor.. not the doctor I am talking about, though he does look somewhat like this.. LOL...

"I'm about to lose my mind
you've been gone for so long
I'm running out of time
I need a doctor
call me a doctor
I need a doctor, doctor
to bring me back to life"



May 1, 2012

Local flavors. . .

A few varieties of local biscuits from Penang. . . Beh Teh Saw / Hiong Piah, Pepper biscuits and Coconut cookies
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