Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Christmas is just a few days away, and you STILL have not completed your shopping yet? Try this website for unique and quirky gifts AND do something good as well. Part of the proceeds from the sales will go to help the people at www.kiva.org start up their own small business and improve their quality of life.

So even if you have done your Christmas shopping, please bookmark the website and go back and buy something there in the future. These really cute gifts are great for birthdays; there's some excellent notebooks that will look nice on your office colleague's table, perhaps some pretty earrings (original works of art may I add, and unique to boot) for your sister or a girlfriend, or maybe a special painting to hang on your wall which really makes great conversational piece.

Go and see more at

Happy holidays.

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ps please forward the link to your friends and ask them to buy something and help a community at the same time.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


No money to buy presents? Why not make your own?

I was listening to the radio just the other day while dropping my little son at school when I heard a guy bragging to the radio DJs that he decided to be an office Scrooge last year. You see, every year, his entire office staff would each buy a $10 Christmas gift, and place all these gifts together, do a draw and people would pick up a gift based on the number they pull out of a hat .. or a box.

Anyways, instead of buying something meaningful as the office Christmas present, he decided to just grab a bag of sugar from his mother's kitchen, wrap it up in newspaper, tie it with kitchen string and dump it under the fake plastic Christmas tree at the reception area. I think that's just terrible, terrible attitude. I'm sure many of you guys have this tradition at the office so you would know how the recipient of the awful gift felt!

I believe it's better not to give, than to give in such bad manner. He could have just opt out gracefully, but nah. But ok, what if he was on a very tight budget? We all are nowadays. It IS possible to give a meaningful gift which will not cost you $10, but is worth much, much more to the other person in value.

Take the sugar present for example. He could have just put the sugar into a nice manly looking glass jar and stick a couple of Cinnamon sticks (kayu manis) inside for fragrance. Perfect gift for the office coffee drinkers who love Cinnamon flavored coffee first thing in the morning (and we know quite a few coffee addicts don't we!), and really, does not cost much at all, and is so easy to make. Great for tea drinkers who like their chai with Cinnamon and milk too!

It IS possible to bring cheer and joy, even if your budget is less than $10. The point is to find something that is practical, usable and thoughtful.

One of the great DIY gift ideas from Erica

Really, there's lots of creative ways to stretch your dollar ..... just needs that little bit of imagination. If you need some ideas to crank up your creative juices, just visit http://lovelydiy.wordpress.com/ to see how Erica does it.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008


A present wrapped in a discarded flyer.

Christmas is just around the corner. There's some great, last minute, thoughtful gifts you can get for people, and it's not hard to obtain.

Just 2 weeks ago, I bought some really super tasty, organic, natural, unheated (raw) honey from a young boy who collects honey from the jungles of Pahang with his dad. Since his family collects from all sorts of beehives, the taste of the honey for different bottles are not the same, but that's ok. Really, that's the beauty of pure food. Some of the honey are white and cloudy, others are light in color, and some are really dark. Better than some of the commercial ones out there, which are mixed with coloring, sugar and artificial flavorings, diluted with water to keep the honey looking all the same. Think about it. How do they get these honey looking uniform? Worse, much of the honey commercial honey we buy is also heated, thus destroying some health giving benefits like enzymes and vitamins.

But back to the bottles of honey I bought from Mat.

I just wrap up these awesome bottles of pure goodness like the way I would wrap bottles of wine as gifts for people who I think would really enjoy them. I feel good too because I'm helping Mat and his family earn some honest living. You see, as soon as they collect enough of this jungle honey and filter them into glass bottles, Mat will lug these heavy syrupy golden liquid (and they are extremely heavy, take my word for it), catch a bus really early in the morning and journey a few hours into Kuala Lumpur to look for customers to buy his produce at the neighborhood market.

I tried to wrap the honey up to show how it'll look like but I now realize I'm pretty crappy when it comes to decorating stuff, so I may pay a young neighbor if she would consider wrapping some of my stuff for me. She really does some beautiful pieces, so it's really win-win for us all. Mat and his family get some income from the sale of the honey. The teenager gets some pocket money to spend for Christmas. I get some gorgeous presents to give away.

Speaking of buying local and supporting the local industry, you could buy really interesting stuff if you look carefully. You could buy a wonderful rotan tikar (or a hand woven rattan mat) for a house decorating mad friend! You could buy them from some Malay markets. If you look carefully, you could also buy some bamboo woven baskets, handmade handbags or the songket (songket is a handwoven silk or cotton fabric that is intricately patterned with gold or silver threads.) .

Organic local fruits in cute local-made handwoven baskets would make great gifts. Buying local produce will reduce your carbon footprints. And going organic means you are helping the industry by not supporting pollution and farmers that use dangerous chemicals in their orchards. People love a great story, so include a little card in the basket with a note about where the fruits and the basket come from. If you know the farmer you buy the fruits from, just explain in the note who they are and how great they are to use organic farming methods. Lots of Australian organic products use this delightful method which allows the consumers to get to know who made and sell these products. I think it's really charming and thoughtful. I always wondered why we Malaysians and Singaporeans don't do it more often.

Cookies I bought from a small vendor at the Subang Parade flea market, but first, my kid has to test and approve before I can give them away as Christmas presents.

The other things most of us love are cookies, and around the holiday season, lots of women bake cookies to supplement their income. Here is our chance to help these small vendors out, and buy some delicious treats as gifts. The cookies shown in the picture above will look really festive once it's wrap it up with some beautiful violet organza ribbons leftover I'm going to recycle from my wedding decorations. The plastic packaging look a bit frosty because I just took them out of the fridge.

Talking about saving money AND reducing your carbon footprint, how about wrapping your gifts in unwanted flyers. I wrapped this gift using a McDonald's flyer I was about to throw away. Wrappers cost a pretty penny nowadays, so there's lots of savings to be made there. My camera doesn't do justice to the wrapping shown above, but it really looks cool, if I may say so myself. The idea didn't come from me. I saw a friend do this once before for her kid's birthday, and it looked really nice. She told me it really wasn't worth spending tons of money on wrapping her kid's presents because he was going to tear them to shreds in a matter of minutes. The joy he got was really from furiously tearing the paper apart to reveal the gift inside.

The next gift idea is homemade cut out coupons. They really do make excellent gifts for people on a shoe string budget. I'm really dying to receive one, especially those that offers free babysitting or free home cooked meals or free foot massages!

Go forth and reduce, reuse and recycle!

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Sunday, December 14, 2008


Please watch this video. It's about how fur is cruelly harvested. Good to watch even if you don't wear fur, because it reminds us, out there, there are animals also in need of love and compassion.

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ps I would like to to thank Moonshi Mohsenruddin, one of the members of the "Eat Raw Food Today" facebook group for sharing this heart breaking video

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Yummy sweet melons. Aren't they just gorgeous?

Yesterday I bought a whole big yummy hunk of honeydew melon from Tesco, and it only costs RM2.10. Feed the entire group of 5 adults, 2 toddlers and a baby. Not bad, not bad at all.

Honey dew melons are really good for everyone because it has lots of Vitamin C. I fed my baby the soft part of the melon, cut into really small pieces for him to "chew" as he has only 2 front teeth.

Honey dew melon also has potassium, good for people who has high blood pressure, and certainly good for my mum, because then she has other alternatives to cucumber that helps bring down her blood pressure. (Click here to find out how we help control my mum's high blood pressure with the help of a daily dose of cucumber juice)

Honeydew melon is a good source of folate as well, so it is good for pregnant women. Some Chinese women may not want to take it because they may believe it is a "cooling" fruit. I believe it's ok to take everything in moderation. The unborn child and the mother certainly needs the vitamins and the enzymes. I always believe a natural source of food is better than some synthetic pills any day!

Scooping out the melon seeds to be dried and eaten another day

The raw melon seeds. It's edible but gotta remove the seeds from the slimy pulp.

Here's a cool recipe for a honeydew melon milk. It's a very good milk alternative for children. It has lots of good fat in the seeds, lots of good enzymes. Good source of calcium too.

Raw Honeydew Melon Milk
- Blend the seeds from one honeydew melon with 3 cups of water.
- Strain as you would for nut milk, meaning strain the liquid in a nut milk bag, or use a very clean old pillowcase.
- Then put the liquid back in the blender with about 1 C of honeydew melon flesh, a bit of good vanilla extract (I use just a few drops for a hint of flavor), and 1 T of honey or any raw sugar (maybe not necessary if your honeydew melon is peak summer sweetness)

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Man follows sound of handphone to find dead son at Bukit Antarabangsa massive landslide

Bukit Antarabangsa landslide victim Datuk Sharudin Adnan with his daughter Noreennur at HKL mortuary. Pic by AZMAN GHANI / The Star

Jasmin says: This is a classic example of greed over common sense. For years, the residents of Bukit Antarabangsa were campaigning to stop all hillside projects because the soil at this hilly area is very unstable. There has been numerous, numerous landslides. Lots of people have died in previous landslide, and now, this disaster has killed more people. What does it take to prevent the loss of life? Is life cheap?

And what's worse, a lot of people are still not moving out, maybe because they can't afford to buy another home, since they have sunk in so much of their money into this dream home of their. A friend of mine (who shall remain nameless) lives at one of the apartments there said she's not leaving. She's confident that nothing will happen to her because she says her apartment is on top of a large bedrock. But the fact remains, there were a few mini landslides near her apartment, and the site of the current landslide is really too close for comfort.

Please read on


Published: Saturday December 6, 2008 MYT 1:30:00 PM
Updated: Saturday December 6, 2008 MYT 8:03:45 PM

Taken from thestar.com.my

KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Shaharuddin Adnan had hoped for the best when he heard the ringing of his son’s mobile phone, but his hopes were dashed when all he saw was a hand sticking out from the rubble of his collapsed house holding the phone.

The 63-year-old retired businessman’s home was one of the many which were crushed by the landslide at Bukit Antarabangsa Saturday morning.

His son Shaiful Khas, 20, died in the incident. Also in his house at that time was his wife and a relative, both of whom survived the disaster.

Shaharuddin said everybody was on the top floor of his double-storey house except for his son, who was playing computer games downstairs.

“At about 3am, I heard him shout ‘Why is the house moving?’ Everything else was a blur, as the house started to fall apart and collapsed.

“When everything came to a stop, I found my wife and relative to be safe, but I could not locate Shaiful. So I decided to call him on his mobile phone and followed the ringing tone,” he said.

He found Shaiful buried under the rubble, with only his hand sticking out holding onto his mobile phone.

The rescue team came in with saws and other equipment to extract Shaiful, but he was already dead, said Shaharuddin.

Shaharuddin said he had noticed some earth movement in his housing area of late, as cracks started appearing in his fish pond.

“But they were minor, I did not think something like this would happen,” he said.

Engineer K. Thanarajah lost his wife Dr N. Yogeswary, 40, in the incident while his second son Thivesh, 10, suffered spinal injury.

Thanarajah fractured his arm, but his two other children escaped unhurt.

A relative said Yogeswary could have survived had she not rushed into Thivesh’s room to save the boy.

“Walls started crumbling, and the staircase broke, leaving them all stranded upstairs,” he said.

According to Kuala Lumpur Hospital deputy director (medical) Dr Laila Nor Ibrahim, 14 patients had been treated, with eight discharged already (as of 1pm Saturday).

She said those warded were in stable condition, including a three-month-old girl.

Friday, December 5, 2008


My mum checking her blood pressure. She does this everyday for a few years now. It's really simple to use, easier than learning how to use that TV remote control.

About a year ago, my mum's high blood pressure (BP) had become unstable. It would go up and down rapidly, all in one day. It would jump up to 160 over 90, and then suddenly drop to 140 over 90 and so on.

Now, any doctor will tell you, that's a dangerous sign. At that time, I was really concerned about her hypertension, but I was quite hopeless on how to help her as I didn't live with her, so I can't monitor her BP.

She consulted her doctor who was also very concerned and changed her medicine to see if it would help.

It didn't.

My mum's body was telling her something was seriously wrong.

Mum would get headaches, and feel weak. She often needed to lie down to rest.

Now, I knew that cucumber juice was an excellent remedy for people who wanted to reduce their BP, but you know, like most everyone else, juicing just wasn't her thing.



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About 3 months ago, I made it a point to juice a glass of cucumber for my mum everyday, and monitor her progress. So far, so good. Her erratic BP reminded me not to take my parents for granted. You know, we would all love to see our parents nag us until they live to be 130. And, thus, I made a conscious decision to take a more active role to improve her well being.

My mum's trusty old Mercury Sphygmomanometer. My cousin, a doctor says a Sphygmomanometer is more accurate than a Digital Blood Pressure Monitor

My mum's stethoscope which is used to listen to her BP while she's using the Mercury Sphygmomanometer

Right now her BP hovers around 130 over 90, and sometimes, it even goes down to 120 over 90 (yippee).

It was tough going at first. Mum said she preferred fruit in it's original form so I varied her diet with fresh raw cut oranges, apples and other fruits. The downside was a person could only chew THAT much of fruit only, and my toddler son meanwhile kept swiping her fruits because he's such a fruit bat, and darn it, she let him eat practically everything!

I also served fruit on a platter for her just before we have our meals so that she didn't miss the ritual of sitting down to eat with the family. The plate of fruit would fill her up somewhat before she ate other stuff on the table. By doing so, she wouldn't feel deprived of her cooked food. Now this is an important aspect. When we deprive ourselves of comfort food, we tend to want to gorge on them even more. The purpose was to reduce my mum's BP, not to make her want to binge on her favorite greasy, high caloric, carb filled food. The increase of fresh fruits and raw vegetables from the garden (she also increased her intake of ulams) helped her feel more alert and she had more energy, but when she checked her BP, it was still erratic. I could also tell when her BP had shot up. It was on the days when she complained of migraine. Didn't need the Sphygmomanometer to tell me that.

Finally, I persuaded her to just drink cucumber juice everyday and to measure the results to see if it works. I mean, what harm can a glass of cucumber, with a spoonful of honey to make it all go down easier, do. So she agreed. And ... yes, it works. The numbers in the diary don't lie.

Nowadays, our whole family just buy bags of cucumbers when we visit the market or to Tesco for mum. So we have like bags of cucumber sitting right next to the juicer on the kitchen counter as a reminder to juice those cukes first thing we see them.

Lest you think we threw the doctor's phone number away, no, we didn't. The doctor is an important person in our quest to reduce her hypertension. Till today, he helps monitor her progress. Mum still takes her hypertension pills, but at a much reduced amount. It helps that we note mum's BP in a diary everyday, and that mum shows him the results when she see him. Seriously, I'm just pleased as punch that her BP is at a much better level.

A simple and cheap pill box from Guardian Pharmacy to hekp mum remember to take her daily pills.

A doctor is very important. But really, the most important person is the person who has hypertension ... and the family members take on the serious supporting roles. We need to take our health seriously, and not to expect the doctor to track everything for us. We have to take charge and monitor our health. Only then, can the doctor really help us. Most patients see a doctor like only once every 3 months. The lazy ones even skip some appointments. How is the doctor going to help these people if they don't try to help themselves?

You know what they say, prevention is better than cure. Why wait for a stroke or a heart attack to attack before we take things seriously.


Tips to reduce blood pressure


ps please do show this article to anyone you think has serious hypertension problem. Show them, they can take control of their health if they seriously monitor their BP constantly. However, the BP info presented here was simplified for easy understanding. Please consult your doctor on what to do, to track your BP levels.