Jun 27, 2012

Yet another case of attempted snatch theft.....at the Curve

I became a victim of an attempted snatch theft at The Curve

by Dawn Jeremiah on Tuesday, June 26, 2012 at 3:21pm ·
X marks the spot where the attack and escape happened.

This was how it began. It was around 11:15pm on Monday, 25th June and my girl friends and I just finished watching the animated film “Brave” at Cineleisure at The Curve. As we went down the escalator, one of them named Carol said “Jo, you should teman Dawn back to her car and she can drop you back.” I, being my usual stubborn self, waved them off, saying, “Aiyo no need lah, I’ll be fine, you guys carry on.” And when Carol insisted, it struck me that we were in The Curve (where many crimes have been happening lately), and I immediately agreed with her.

So Joanne and I walked through the sliding glass doors out of Cineleisure, down the steps and took a right where the fountain was. The aim was to cross the street and get back to Ikano Power Centre, where my car was parked. This alleyway that we had to walk past wasn’t dark and it hardly looked menacing. But it was deserted; there was not a soul in sight. Nevertheless, we thought nothing of it, as neither of us felt anything amiss. So we walked and I began checking my phone messages and replying to them one by one.

As we reached the grass area where the Volkswagen showroom was, a skinny guy that seemed to be in his early 20s, quietly sneaked up from behind us. He waited for the right moment to attack, the moment Joanne had her head turned away from me. He roughly grabbed the strap of my handbag that was on my right shoulder, almost snatching it away. I screamed on top of my lungs and yanked my handbag back in the nick of time.

The impact from his pull made me fall on my knees to the grass and my phone that I was fiddling with fell on the ground too, together with my handbag. I was still screaming and yelled “HOI!” to the guy, but he continued to run towards the edge of the little roundabout and joined his friend, who was waiting for him on a motorcycle. They quickly sped off towards the Kota Damansara area. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see their faces, nor the registration number on their motorcycle.

I got up and checked my belongings to see if all was in order. Joanne pulled me to the side, so that we can get away from that place, just in case those snatch thieves came back. None of the security guards at The Curve came to us, despite my screams. They were obviously nowhere near where the incident took place.

Even a middle-aged man who drove past the moment I fell, stopped at the side of the road to see if everything was okay, which was very nice of him. He looked at us curiously and I explained what happened. He said “Tu la, tadi saya nampak ada orang cuba ragut.” (Yes, earlier I saw someone trying to snatch something away”) And we told him to just be wary and mindful.

We walked next door to Royale Bintang Damansara Hotel and asked the security guard on duty, if there was a safe, indoor passageway that we could use to access the carpark at Ikano. He seemed to be a foreigner and had trouble speaking and understanding both English and Malay, pointing to the direction of Ikano. After three attempts of asking, we gave up and proceeded to cross the street.

As we crossed and headed towards the ramp down to the basement parking area, we saw three men suspiciously walking towards our direction and proceeded to also walk down the ramp, just in front of us. Joanne and I seemed to read each other’s minds when we said, “Yeah let’s forget this and go through the main entrance” and turned back, walking up to where the drop off area was, by the sliding glass doors.

At last, we saw a security guard who was sitting at the entrance of Ikano Power Centre, doing nothing. I proceeded to politely ask him if he would open a small door for us to enter to access the P2 carpark. He refused, stating gruffly that the mall is already closed, “Tak boleh buka pintu, semua sudah tutup. Kalau you mahu masuk parking, you kena turun ikut jalan kereta” (“We cannot open any of the doors, all are closed already. If you want to enter the parking area, you need to go down the ramp like how all the cars enter”), pointing directly to the ramps which we just walked away from.

Joanne and I made several more attempts before Joanne added, “Kalau encik tak nak buka pintu, tak apa. Boleh tak encik teman kita sampai ke kereta?” (“Sir, if you don’t want to open the doors, it’s okay. But can you at least walk us to our car?”) The security guard gave me a bored and disgruntled look, and it became clear to us that we were a nuisance to his otherwise very peaceful and serene night.

Then I finally said “Encik, mintak tolong, saya baru hampir kena ragut kat depan sana tadi. Please please please tolong kami.” (“Sir, please help us. I almost got robbed by a snatch thief and it happened right where you’re asking us to walk to. Please please please help us.”)

More disgruntled looks from the guard. He then slowly took out his walkie-talkie and started speaking in a foreign language to another guard, and then agreed to walk us to the carpark. As we walked down the ramp, he was trailing far behind us and we had to slow down several times so that he could keep up. We were walking at a normal pace.

After about 200 metres, he stopped and said, "Okay, you go now."
We stopped on our tracks and were like, "Huh?? Can you just follow us to my car??" and he said "You go", told us that there would be another security guard around the bend to walk us directly to my car. We thanked him and proceeded further down. When we reached the bend, to our disappointment, there was nobody there. Although the car park was brightly lit, there were no security guards in sight as what the guard promised and there were only 5 cars parked in the vast space, within our range of sight. I proceeded quickly into my car while Joanne paid the parking ticket a few yards away. We then sped off from there to make a police report.

I'm not hurt, nor was anything taken. And for that, I'm super blessed and I thank my lucky stars. My hands were very shaky, yet I willed myself to drive properly to the police station at Damansara Utama, where the officers were nice and helpful. Even when I was drawing the map to explain where I was, my hands kept shaking. But I’m glad that it only came to that.

Things could have been much worse. The snatch thief could have been armed. He could have covered my nose and mouth with chloroform, or used a tazer gun against me. There could have been two or three, or ten of them. They could have waited until we got to our cars and robbed us there. Or they could have easily brought more of their friends to come back for us, as we were still walking by the street, wasting our time talking to those so-called “security guards”. The possibilities are endless.

You would think that despite the recent series of unfortunate incidents in shopping malls throughout the Klang Valley that at least one mall would step up to launch a safety awareness campaign and to take steps to raise their security levels. Not one has been doing it.

Thanks to my friends; Carol Leong for insisting that Joanne Ho-Lee walks me back to my car and thanks to Joanne for being there with me throughout the entire ordeal and at the police station. Now I’m wary of leaving the house and as I drove home and saw families crossing the streets, I felt the urge of winding down my car window to tell them to be careful while they walk.

Thanks also to all my family members, close friends, acquaintances, colleagues, Twitter and Facebook friends and followers who have shown so much concern and care for my wellbeing. I will remember each and every one of the kind words on the phone, sms and sent online.

Hugs,
Dawn Jeremiah

Read this for tips of personal safety!!!!

Crucial to be alert and prepared to stay safe

Increase in the number of snatch thefts and attacks at shopping mall car parks has caused concern among women. Here are some tips on how to stay safe.

HAVING done all your shopping, you walk towards your car all the while thinking of calling your best friend to tell her about the bargains you got at the sale and how envious she'd be. Suddenly, and seemingly out of nowhere, a guy rushes at you. What do you do?

Having a pepper spray in hand and using it, then making a run for it would be one of the best ways to escape the dicey situation.

If you do not carry a pepper spray but have your car keys in your hand, you can press the small button on your car key remote. This, according to safety activist and expert Capt K. Bala, is in fact a panic button.

“This will trigger the car alarm and your car doors will lock. The noise will draw the attention of others and hopefully scare the attacker away.”

Safety precautions: Security cameras alone may not be enough to keep crimes from happening in the car park. It is important for women to arm themselves with more safety measures.

Most people here only use that button to locate their car if they can't remember where they've parked, but it's really a panic button, says Bala.

But he stresses that you shouldn't have been in that vulnerable position in the first place.

“Being alert and prepared is crucial,” he says.

Bala categorises the level of safety into green, yellow and red zones.

“When you are in a mall with everyone else there, you are in the green zone and therefore safe.

“Once you get into the elevator to go down to the basement car park, you've entered a yellow zone because your (level of) protection has been reduced.

“If there is just one other man in the elevator with you, then you are already in the red (danger) zone so you have to be extra alert,” he says, adding that the best place to be in an elevator is near the button panel.

If you are attacked, you can lean against the panel, which will touch the buttons and make the elevator stop at the different floors, Bala explains.


If there is no problem at the elevator, the moment it reaches the floor your car is on and you open the door to enter the car park, you are in the red zone.

“You might be alone and vulnerable to attack so you have to be extra aware. Being prepared is very important,” stresses Bala who has been conducting “City Survival Women's Only” and “Road Survival Skills” courses for both genders and a number of other safety courses all over the country for almost two decades.

He is director of training with the Code Red Survival Academy, president of the Road Safety Marshal Club and chairman of the Malaysian Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association.

In the car park

One of his safety tips is that when you get to the car park and see your car, look or walk towards the next car instead.

As you walk, he says, you should be on the look-out for people lurking around, hiding behind cars or pillars, and also see if there are people in the car next to yours.

“Do not look at your car. Walk as if you are going to another car and as you reach your car, you should quickly unlock the door, cut to your left or right (depending on where you're parked), get into the car fast and lock it immediately.

“If someone is targeting you and you are looking at the next car, they would be running towards the car that you are looking at and this would delay them and give you time. Be smart to trick people,” says Bala who believes it is good to trust one's instincts.

“If you sense something is not right, like you notice your tyre is flat or your side mirror is broken, go back into the shopping complex and get help because you are being targeted,” he warns.

Bala: If you are hit from behind, you can still drive off. Don’t argue, and don’t get down. Just drive to the nearest police station and make a report.

When you pull into an empty lot to park, look around before getting out to see if there is anyone hiding behind the pillars or other cars or if people are sitting in the next and nearby cars (who might be waiting to grab you).

Bala feels there are two things people should know about crime someone stands to benefit from it, and it requires time and opportunity.

If someone attacks or comes after you for money, your handbag, ATM PIN, jewellery or car, “just give it to them,” he says. “The most important thing is life.”

Unless you are trained, avoid taking on the perpetrators, going after them or even swearing at them because they can turn around, come back and harm you, he advises. “It's just not worth it.”

With women, he says, they can also be attacked for sex.

“If the intention is not to take money, the moment they grab you, scream, bite, struggle and put up a fight. If you manage to escape, you should know how to run for your life.

“But if you can't run and you see a parked car, get under it. They can't drag you out easily and there also will not be enough time to pull you out.

“No matter what, don't get into the car because, chances are, you will not come out alive.”

He believes people should also be more careful when paying their parking ticket.

If you are one of those who leave their parking ticket in the car and go back to retrieve it when it's time to go, think again, cautions Bala. You might in fact be giving perpetrators opportunity and time.

“You have identified the car so I (the perpetrator) know the car belongs to you and I know you are going to pay and come back so I can lie in wait for you. And I've already got a paid parking ticket yours,” he says, citing an incident that occurred about 10 years ago.

“Canny Ong was attacked when she went back to her car to get her parking ticket,” he recalls.

Ong was abducted at knife point from a shopping complex car park on June 14, 2003. Her attacker forced her in her car, drove away and then raped, strangled, stabbed her to death, burnt her body and dumped the remains in a manhole.

He was later caught, tried and sentenced to death.

If you are holding a paid parking ticket when you are being attacked, crumple it so that its magnetic strip will be damaged and it can't be used to make a quick exit.

While the TouchnGo card is a convenient way to pay for parking, it also makes it easier for a criminal to grab you in your car and use it to get out.

A manned pay counter is definitely the safest choice because you'd need to pay a physical person at the exit booth to get out, Bala points out.

“If a girl is fighting or struggling in the car, the pay counter guy can alert the police,” he adds.

In a recent incident, Chin Xi-Ci was loading her shopping bags into her car at the Curve car park when, to her horror, a man held a meat cleaver to her throat. He and his accomplice then forced her into the car but she managed to escape as they neared the parking exit.

Bala commends Chin, saying that even in her panic, she planned it well and was thinking all the time that she needed to get out.

“The awareness of what happened with Canny Ong saved Chin's life because she knew she had to escape,” he says.

If you are abducted and on the road, the best opportunity to escape is when the car is at a traffic light, traffic jam or toll booth. The driver has to slow down or stop, Bala says.

Tighter security in malls

On shopping malls, Bala stresses that more need to be done to improve security.

For one, he doesn't understand why the security counter is invariably placed in “some secluded corner in the basement and manned by foreigners who can hardly speak Malay or English”. “In an emergency, if you run to him (foreign security staff) for help, he might not even understand you.”

Having uniformed security guards on motorbikes patrolling the car park will work. Their visibility and speed at getting from one spot to another will be a deterrent, Bala says.

Some shopping malls, including the Pavilion in Kuala Lumpur, have installed emergency buzzers in their car park. In the event of an emergency, a person can run to the buzzer to trigger an alarm and security personnel can see which buzzer was activated and quickly send a guard over to check.

“This is a very proactive measure. Sure, there is the possibility that some children may play the fool and trigger the buzzer but we can't take such cases as an excuse not to provide added security,” says Bala.

“For example, we do have crank calls on emergency phone lines but we can't shut down the emergency lines because of these,” he says, adding that parents can do their part by telling their children how the buzzer is helpful for their mothers, sister, or aunts.

Where putting up CCTVs at malls is concerned, Bala says it is simply not enough.

“If the camera is of very low resolution, you can't catch the criminal. A high definition CCTV camera is necessary,” he says, adding that the camera angle is also important.

If the camera is too high up, it will only catch the top of someone's head, or cap if he is wearing one. “Cameras should be 6ft to 7ft lower than the roof so you can see faces.”

He also suggests that mall owners /operators install convex mirrors along pillars in their car parks to make other people more visible. He believes this would not cost much and would instead reap benefits for the shopping malls.

“If customers feel good and safe there, they will keep coming back. They will also tell their friends to go to that mall,” he says.

On the road

Bala has also noticed that people put way too much information on their cars.

They have their condo car sticker that tells other people where they live, their office car park sticker which shows where they work, their club sticker which indicates where they go to after work, a fitness centre sticker that gives the location of the gym they go to, and even a sticker that shows where they have their car serviced.

All these, he points out, can be used by a perpetrator to plan how and where to target you.

If you are on the highway or an empty road and a car knocks into you from behind, Bala advises against getting out. It might be an attempt at car jacking, he says.

“Look into the mirror. If you see a few guys in the other car, they would have knocked into you on purpose and they would not have banged into your car too hard.

“If you are hit from behind, you can still drive off. Don't argue, and don't get down. Just drive to the nearest police station and make a report.”

If it is a genuine accident, the police should be able to match your report with that of the other party based on the place, time and type of car even if you didn't manage to get down the number plate of the other car.

But, he says, if you get knocked at a traffic jam, then it's okay to stop because it is probably a genuine accident.

If you think you are being chased by another car, it is best not to get to a highway because all the cars there will be speeding and it will make you less visible, Bala says.

“It is better to go to smaller roads or roads that are jammed. If a road bully is after you, drive up to a fire station, police station or run into a hospital or a 24-hour clinic “whose job is to protect lives”, or a restaurant or coffee shop where people can see if something is going to happen.”

Recently, a 12-year Dutch student, Nayati Shamelin, was kidnapped while walking to school. Fortunately, he was released after ransom was paid.

But there have been other instances where children like Nurin Jazlin (2007) were abducted and not returned alive.

Bala suggests that parents “train' their kids to be streetwise.

The parent can go on the school bus with his child to see where he is dropped off at school, or walk with him and help him plan for an emergency along the route.

“For example, if you pass a house that's full of bachelors, tell him not to stop there.

“If a car stops and the driver or passenger asks for directions, tell your child not to answer but to run. People shouldn't be asking a child for directions.

“If the school bag is heavy, tell him to drop it and run, or throw it into someone's compound and run.

“Plan for where the child can to run to for help. You can point out houses that are good to run to, because, for example, a retired couple lives there so there are always people there.”

You can also advise your child to get under a parked car and shout for help, he adds.

Bala also cautions parents against revealing information about their finances in front of their children. The child might unknowingly share the information with friends on Facebook or in school and then become a target for ransom kidnapping.

“Engage the brain before you engage the tongue. Don't simply tell people of your wealth,” he stresses.

Bala also encourages ladies to pick up self defence techniques and attend safety awareness talks by police or other relevant organisations or groups.

“Dying is not an option,” he says.


(taken from thestar.com.my)

Jun 21, 2012

Mystery in the Palace (story until conclusion)

(taking up where we left off....)

Han Xiang got better eventually and resumed her investigation, but faced death threats again, got bitten by a poisonous snake, only getting rescued by Ge Tai in the nick of time. The Crown Princess in meantime was still trying her best to get rid of Han Xiang, especially after losing her husband's interest and attention. She entrapped Chun Zhu into her plans of getting Han Xiang's jade seal and implanting it somewhere.. Frustrated at Chun Zhu's slowness, the crown princess wanted to teach Chun Zhu a lesson and told Zhu Er her maid to lock Chun Zhu in a deserted store room for a day or two, after asking Chun Zhu to go to the store room and get something. However, Han Xiang followed Chun Zhu. Zhu Er then took the opportunity to then hit Han Xiang on the back and she collapsed. Zhu Er then locked Han Xiang in the store room and reported to the Crown Princess who was delighted. She then threatened Chun Zhu if she told anyone about it, she would lock Chun Zhu up instead. Chun Zhu then just kept silent.
Meanwhile, the Crown Prince tried to get rid of his rival for Han Xiang by revealing Ge Tai's origins just to be shocked when the Emperor slams him back into being nosy and investigating what does not concern him and that the Emperor had already known Ge Tai's real origins. They then had a truce and went in search of the missing Han Xiang with the Emperor's guards.
Finally, the Crown Prince went to check on his wife, who of course vehemently denied it, but sulked because the Crown Prince goes in search of Han Xiang and not her, and saw some suspicious red mud stains and voiced his suspicions to Ge Tai and Commander Cao. They then looked around further and finally found the abandoned store. They called for her but got no answer, and would have left, but Ge Tai saw a new hair ornament  one the floor  and burst into the locked store to find an unconcious Han Xiang there who has been locked there for a good three days.
Somehow the Crown Princess and Zhu Er panicked and tried to burn the shoes covered with red mud but Ge Tai saw it and managed to redeem a pair belonging to Chun Zhu.  With that he told Han Xiang what he suspected. . The storage of clothing as usual, went to visit Han Xiang, but Ge Tai refused to let Chun Zhu in . Once the other embroiderers have finished visiting her, Han Xiang sent Ge Tai out voicing a suspicion regarding her grand father , and seeing Chun Zhu. She confronted Chun Zhu who begged for forgiveness and told Chun Zhu she did not want to see her again. However with much pleading and Chun Zhu kneeling outside the Ning Shou palace until Han Xiang agreed to see her and fainting, she gave in and forgave Chun Zhu.
Chun Zhu then happened to overhear Han Xiang's adopted parents admonishing her for putting her life in danger and how the murderer would be hunting her because of who she really was, the late Princess Yi Dan's daughter. However, she kept that knowledge to herself and did not tell Crown Princess.
Han Xiang then went to town to investigate something. But in town, being still weak, she fainted and the Crown Prince saw her and took her away to try to have his way with her. Luckily , Beile Ge Tai saw it and followed them, resuming in a huge fight between Ge Tai and the Crown Prince. Luckily, Tuo He Gi appeared and dragged the unconcious Crown Prince away. Han Xiang then dragged Ge Tai to an abandoned barn and hugged him close.  Fortunately, King Lie's assistant sent out a search party and manage to take him back home . Han Xiang nursed him back with herbal medications and chicken soup.
Crown Princess then cooked up another scheme and made Chun Zhu hide Yi Dan's jade seal in Han Xiang's room, and then she (Crown Princess) went to the Dowager Empress and told her that Han Xiang had the seal and was plotting to turn up as the princess Yi Dan's daughter. She even managed to bribe and threaten witnesses in saying that  Yi Dan's murderer was working in cohorts with Han Xiang, and that Han Xiang had murdered Xue Yan because Xue Yan interfered with her plans.
Blinded by rage, the Dowager Empress left the matter to the Emperor who sentenced Han Xiang to death, much to the Crown Princess delight.
Ms Tong and Ge Tai tried to plead on Han Xiang's behalf, but the Emperor refused to listen. Han Xiang was not allowed any visitors.
Chun Zhu filled with guilt tried to rescue her by wanting to prove Han Xiang's lineage by digging in to Qing Er's grave for the statue that belonged exclusively to Yi Dan but arrived a little too late.
Finally, she was taken out and hanged in the town centre.  Ge Tai was the most saddest person, besides all of Han Xiang's friends from the Storage of Clothing , Aunt Rong's embroidery shop and parents. Ge Tai 'buried' Han Xiang.
The following days ensued in uproar as the town and the palace became 'haunted' with Han Xiang's upset spirit. The Crown Princess, feeling guilty felt very scared and goes in search for sorcerers to protect her, even enlisting a couple of fake sorcerers who pretended to exorcise the 'ghost' but getting foiled by Ge Tai.   Just then the ghost of Han Xiang passed them and while the Crown Princess and Zhu Er looked up in fear, Ge Tai goes chasing after it. Besides Ge Tai, the man in the mask /in black chases the ghost too . Losing the 'ghost', the man in the mask goes in search of Han Xiang's grave and unearths it to find.... nothing... and gets attack and surrounded by Ge Tai, Commander Cao and the guards. He put on a huge fight and it took about half a dozen or more men to hold him down. . Ge Tai then goes to unmask him... to find.... King Lie, his father, to his shock.
Meanwhile, the Crown Prince is drowning his sorrow as well as half cursing his wife who was busy reciting mantras to protect herself from Han Xiang's vengeful spirit when Wang Gong Gong, the Emperor's trusted Eunuch calls them into the palace.
They arrive there. Guards surround the palace and Ge Tai appeared announcing to the Emperor that everything was in place.
Surprised and curious, the Crown Prince asked the Emperor what was going on, and the Emperor admonished for him to be patient and called out Han Xiang, who stepped out well, alive and in royal finery to the Crown Princess' shock.
The Emperor then told the Crown Prince and Crown Princess that he had been doing his own investigation  because what the Crown princess and Han Xiang said rang alarm bells in his head , thus he had ordered Han Xiang not to have any visitors. He had visited Han Xiang  who had pleaded for a through investigation and who had insisted that Yi Dan was indeed her mother and she was given the jade seal and jade butterfly when she was small , but only found out about who her mother really was through Ms Tong.
Unsure about whether to trust her or not, he allowed a physician who accompanied him suggest a consanguinity or kind of 'DNA' test between him and Han Xiang. The physician pricked Han Xiang's finger and dripped three drops of blood into a basin of water and the Emperor did the same. Their blood mixed together as one and finally the Emperor accepted the fact that Han Xiang was his long lost daughter with Yi Dan.
That announcement got Crown Princess shocked speechless. And she began to pretend to mis understand how the seal ended up in Han Xiang's room and that she only listened to others.
With that , the Emperor ordered the criminals who were in cohorts with the Crown Princess be brought forward. All the 'withnesses' and Chun Zhu told the truth about how the Crown Princess had held their family member hostage and ordered them to frame Han Xiang. When called out, Zhu Er also claimed she as forced to do so by the Crown Princess and begged for forgiveness. The Crown Princess was then sentenced with Zhu Er to live the rest of their lives in  a distant palace and never leaving it. The other witnesses and Chun Zhu were then ordered to be caned 20 times with a rod to teach them a lesson.
The Crown Prince asked the Emperor why Han Xiang was still sentence to death even though the Emperor found out that she was his daughter and how she still lived, and the Emperor said it was Han Xiang's idea to lure out the real murderer, and when she was hanged, she was acting. When the executioner place the black sack over her head, there was also a steel neck brace to protect her neck.
King Lie was then brought out. He confessed to his crimes and said how much he loved and hated Yi Dan for betraying his love and leaving him.
The Emperor did not know how to sentenced King Lie, out of love for his brother, guilt for unwittingly causing Yi Dan to fall pregnant and destroying their marriage and ordered King Lie to be imprisoned while he decided. However, King Lie out of remorse, wrote a letter in blood and then took his own life in prison by smashing himself on the wall.
Ge Tai is consumed by guilt, having caught his own father and is chased out of his family home by his so called brothers..
Yi Dan flourished as a princess, and plans a surprise for her friends. She calls Wang Gong Gong to order them to one of the palace , refusing to say anything. The thought of Han Xiang turning evil like Xue Yan crossed their mind and they went to the assigned place as ordered in fear of facing Han Xiang's wrath to find an amused Wang Gong Gong who told them that Princess Han Xiang had actually planned a firework treat for them , giving them 10 taels of gold and some rice for all of them and 20 days holiday....
Han Xiang , through Wang Gong Gong, called Ge Tai to the palace too. He came bearing a gift for her, and she, a gift for him. It turns out each was giving away to the other their respective jade butterfly.
Ge Tai tells Han Xiang that he plans to go away as the memories of the place depressed him , and he needed a new start. Han Xiang then said she was willing to follow him wherever he went..... and laughingly, they went off together.............

-The End-

Life's challenges.....

Lately, my family have been facing numerous challenges.... A cousin got married last Saturday, but just one day before his wedding, his dad collapsed and passed away. Niece underwent spinal correctional operation recently and still recuperating. Then two days ago, my brother in law collapsed at work. Still semi concious in PD hospital. Weak heart, swollen lungs and asthma. Please pray for them if possible. . . 

Jun 8, 2012

Planning to retire......What matters....

Financial security in retirement doesn’t just happen. It takes planning and commitment and, yes, money.

Some facts....

  • Fewer than half of Malaysian have calculated how much they need to save for retirement.
  • The average Malaysian spends 20 years in retirement.
Putting money away for retirement is a habit we can all live with. Remember… Saving Matters!

1. Start saving, keep saving, and stick to your goals

If you are already saving, whether for retirement or another goal, keep going! You know that saving is a rewarding habit. If you’re not saving, it’s time to get started. Start small if you have to and try to increase the amount you save each month. The sooner you start saving, the more time your money has to grow .      Make savings for retirement a priority. Devise a plan, stick to it, and set goals. Remember, it’s never too early or too late to start saving.

2. Know your retirement needs

Retirement is expensive. Experts estimate that you will need about 70 percent of your pre retirement income – lower earners, 90 percent or more – to maintain your standard of living when you stop working. Take charge of your financial future. The key to a secure retirement is to plan ahead.

3. Consider basic investment principles

How you save can be as important as how much you save. Inflation and the type of investments you make play important roles in how much you’ll have saved at retirement. Know how your savings or  retirement  plan is invested. Learn about your plan’s investment options and ask questions. Put your savings in different types of investments. By diversifying this way, you are more likely to reduce risk and improve return. Your investment mix may change over time depending on a number of factors such as your age, goals, and financial circumstances. Financial security and knowledge go hand in hand.

4. Don't touch your retirement savings

If you withdraw your retirement savings now, you’ll lose principal and interest. If you change jobs, leave your savings invested in your current retirement plan.

5. Ask Questions

While these tips are meant to point you in the right direction, you’ll need more information. Read more. Talk to a financial adviser. Ask questions and make sure you understand the answers. Get practical advice and act now. More info on how to invest using your EPF account 1 or spare cash monies with Public Mutual, please call me Miera at 012 338 6033 or Dzul at 017 683 0333

'Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted'



Took my daughter to watch this the other day. We were among the first to watch it. It was awesome and Anne was so totally engrossed with it.......

The story starts with the penguins and monkeys flying off to Monte Carlo in the hope of making money, but they left the other animals behind, namely: Gloria, Marty, Melman, Alex, King Julien and Mort. They then took it on themselves to swim to Monte Carlo so they could find the penguins and then board the plane to head back to New York together.
They gate crashed or was it ceiling crashed into the Monte Carlo casino where one King of Versailles (actually the monkey and penguin combined) was gambling and winning. Lots of chaos happened and they called the animal control headed by the evil and tenacious Madam DuBois who had a dream of having a lion's head on her wall...
The animals would have flew back to New York but unfortunately the plane crashed in Paris and they had to find an alternative. Hot in pursuit as Madam DuBois, but they manage to board a problematic circus train, where three main stars ruled, Vitaly the tiger, Gia the cheetah and Stefano the sealion. The penguins and monkey then bought over the train with the money they won from the casino, after hearing that the train was heading to Rome and then to New York ....







Jun 3, 2012

Tokyo Dome Hotel

Located at the very center of Tokyo's commuter rail JR Yamanote Line, the Tokyo Dome Hotel is an ideal base for business, leisure and sightseeing.

Close to some of Tokyo's most historic neighborhoods, the Hotel is also ten minutes away by car or subway from the business and financial districts of Marunouchi and Otemachi.
The Tokyo Dome Hotel towers at a height of 155 meters above the city, which includes 1,006 guest rooms, 9 restaurants & lounges, 18 small to large banquet rooms, two distinctive chapels and other wedding facilities, a business center, a child care room, and an outdoor pool (summer time only).

Jun 2, 2012

Oshino Hakkai....

Oshino Hakkai is a touristy set of eight ponds in Oshino, a small village in the Fuji Five Lake region, located between Lake Kawaguchiko and Lake Yamanakako on the site of a former sixth lake that dried out several hundred years ago. The eight ponds are fed by snow melt from the slopes of nearby Mount Fuji that filters down the mountain through porous layers of lava for over 80 years, resulting in very clear water that is revered by the locals. People have valued this water, which they call 'sacred water'.
The clear water surface reflecting Mt. Fuji appears to be veiled in an almost mystic air. Not only do these ponds boast fine-quality water, but they harmonize wonderfully with the surrounding rustic scenery, and the water of Oshino Hakkai is ranked among the best-quality waters of Japan
Next to one pond visitors can drink the cool water straight from the source. The ponds are quite deep and have interesting freshwater plant life and large fish that make a visit to the ponds almost like visiting an aquarium. Although the ponds have been developed into tourist attractions and can become quite crowded with visitors, they have a pleasant atmosphere as long as you do not expect untouched nature. .



You will find many restaurants, souvenir shops and food vendors around the ponds which sell vegetables, sweets, pickles, crafts and other local products. Some operate small outdoor grills to attract shoppers with the alluring smells of roasted sweet potato and toasted rice crackers (osenbei)




 This is actually one of my favourite pictures... I am wearing the Yukata my Japanese friend Misae gave me in a beautiful traditional village with the breathtakingly beautiful mount Fuji behind me....


Another gorgeous picture with Mount Fuji behind....Not everyone is lucky to see Mount Fuji. Sometimes the sky gets so cloudy or foggy and Mount Fuji simply 'disappears'...
Having said that... towards the end of our trip here at the Oshino Hakkai, Mount Fuji did 'disappear' from our view....

 Another place to get your refreshing water from Mount Fuji...

 This pool is supposedly 8 metres deep... but look at how clear the water is....!!!!!!

 drinking water from the source... the water comes out from  3 -4 dragon taps .....

 Gingko Biloba.... me thinks!!!!

 Pretty bonsais.... and plants....

gorgeous flowers....decorate the area.....

Aoi Marushin Tempura in Asakusa....





Tempura, Seasonal Japanese and Sushi Tempura is a traditional Japanese cooking method. Aoi-marushin's Tempura is a low cholesterol healthy food becouse they use fresh fish and vegetables, cooked in high temperature vegetable oil. They also have seasonal Japanese dishes every month to reflect the harmony and seasonal flavors, aromas and colors of Japanese cuisine. Enjoy the good old days of Edo.

A trip to KidZania KL

Because of the recent trips everyone made, only little Anne was left in KL in her Godmother and sister's house. I had left for my Tokyo trip, my husband to Langkawi and my eldest daughter back to Penang... so to make it up to her, I decided to take her to KidZania. Afterall, I had promised her a trip there....  The fees are RM55 for child and RM35 for an accompanying adult... the kid will get additional 50 Kidzos (KidZania's money ) to be used...

ok, before I go any further.. What is KidZania? You ask....

Playing it Big

KidZania is safe and interactive education and entertainment indoor theme park that allows children to role-play adult activities in a replica city designed to simulate real-life and a functioning economy.

For children between the ages of 4 to 14, KidZania allows children to lead independent lives and get to understand the world of grown-ups better by being grown-ups themselves.


The City of Kids

Etymologically the name of KidZania was created using the word “Kid” an abbreviation of the word “kinder” which means children, “ania” a Latin suffix which means “land of” and “Z” in reference to the word “zany” which means “cool” – that is to say, “land of cool kids”.

Playing is a successful way to guarantee that children develop a positive attitude towards learning. Children will use that learning experience and apply it subsequently in their daily life.

The third KidZania state in South East Asia and the eleventh in the world, KidZania Kuala Lumpur – The City of Kids is an indoor theme park designed for the construction of new learning through role-play activities and the real-life application of the knowledge acquired in the classroom.


An Educational and Entertaining Environment

In KidZania Kuala Lumpur, there are no rides and no arcade games. Instead, children have a choice of over 90 professions in 59 different establishments – they can play as a surgeon, police officer, firefighter, fashion designer, journalist, pilot and much more. From the role-play, the child can gain experience and knowledge of the profession and at the same time, earn money in the form of KidZanian currency called kidZos, which can be saved into their bank account or spent at outlets within KidZania.

KidZania Kuala Lumpur offers a host of activities that will keep children not only entertained for hours, but will also make them more aware of the realities of the adult world.

This makes KidZania Kuala Lumpur a unique educational city which stimulates creative thinking and boosts self-esteem and self-confidence levels.


Experience & Learn

Aside from being a fun place, KidZania – The City of Kids is an indoor theme park designed for the construction of new learning through the activities as well as the reinforcement of the knowledge acquired in the classroom.

The playing activities reproduce adult life and therefore provide a vision of the ways in which children relate to the environment, as well as the knowledge and attitudes they learn from adults who surround them.

  • Improve command of English & Bahasa Melayu
    Through interaction, children will develop communication skills with different uses of the spoken and written language, where they will learn to clearly structure their ideas.

    In the NEWSPAPER EDITION or RADIO STATION, children will learn the structure and editing of texts, selection and organisation of the said elements and the use of vocabulary and grammar.

    The representation of literature through classical stories in the THEATRE and TV STUDIO will awaken children’s interest in reading, and will also allow the practice of strategies in the processing and use of its content.
  • Practice Mathematics
    KidZania, with its own monetary system, exposes the child to mathematics as soon as he arrives. At the BANK the child has to cash a cheque in order to receive kidZos and he will work with additions and subtractions upon earning or spending kidZos in the activities selected.

    Finally in the DEPARTMENT STORE and SUPERMARKET he will purchase items according to the amount earned.In other activities, such as the CULINARY SCHOOL, PAINTING SCHOOL or ARTS AND CRAFTS WORKSHOP children will use their knowledge of weights, measures, shapes and colours upon encountering situations simulating the “real” world where he will also have to calculate, measure and carry out displacements.
  • Enhance Civic Education
    Through role-playing, children will recognise and be familiar with the rights and duties an individual has as a citizen and human being. They will also learn the importance of mass media as resources to express and to make the citizens’ points of view known (RADIO STATION, TV STUDIO and NEWSPAPER EDITION).

    Children will realize the importance of jobs, positions and professions which integrate our society and the value of work as the motor of development. At the FIRE STATION and POLICE STATION children will learn the importance of organisation, collective work and contribution of all parties for the solution of problems.


So Anne gets her 'boarding pass, a wristband to check in and out every place she visits and also a cheque for 50 KidZos....

 Inside KidZania!!!

 The fountain of KidZania, a replica of the Fountain of Trevi... LOL?!!!

 Anne on her first job ... she originally wanted to be a reporter but the job entailed typing out a paragraph in 20 minutes, so since she was not quite able yet, she became a newspaper delivery person... and had to deliver newspapers to  various destination around KidZania...

 Anne's next job .... again, because she could not read fast to be a news reader and the older kids grabbed the opportunity first, she became a TV production crew member instead

 the job was quite cool... her supervisor patiently explained what needs to be done and all... and she enjoyed it!!

 Next job..... a dentist......

Look!!! I learned to earn my own money!!!!! I worked hard for it!!!