Tuesday, April 28, 2009


My heart goes out to the families who are affected by the Swine Flu.

Malaysia had a horrific period when roughly 115 people, fathers, mothers, children died, all within a very short period of time in the pig farming industry. It was terrible and so heartbreaking. Interestingly, before this incident, Malaysia, despite being a Muslim country (where a majority of people eat halal food, meaning do not eat pork) was the biggest exporter of pork in South East Asia.

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The Nipah Story: Pigs Can’t Fly


Just this week alone, on two separate occasions, I saw a Kuala Lumpur City Council worker (DBKL worker) spraying weedkiller on the pavement and at the side of the road.


Here we are trying to do our part to save the world, while these guys are spraying toxic chemicals into our environment, chocking Mother Earth to death.

Truly, I'm not blaming the very guy, who, by the way, is spraying the weedkiller without a protective gear whatsoever. The guy's just doing his job, trying to earn some decent money, while taking orders from superiors who don't care!

I'm quite alarmed, if you haven't figured this by now! You see, by taking short cuts and using cheap weedkillers, in essence, the local council is poisoning us; children, adults, older folks, animals, plants, rivers, the sea ...... Ultimately, their actions not only affect those who live in Kuala Lumpur, it affects Mother Earth. Period.

Thanks to Google, there's lots of information on how to control weeds in the city without resorting to poison. These City Council officers really need to start looking up on information on their computers because we are paying these guys to protect us.

Many councils have a website so if you have something you need to highlight to the folks at the council, you can do so online.

The Kuala Lumpur City Council (DBKL) complain page is http://bhea.dbkl.gov.my/eaduan.cfm
The Petaling Jaya Municipal Council (MPPJ) complain page is http://eps.mbpj.gov.my/index.aspx.

But anyways, everyone has a pet peeve with their local council ... in London, in Perth, in Wichita ..... If you have something to say, do inform them. If you are in the know, why, go directly to the council president, if you can, or talk to your local representative!

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Monday, April 20, 2009


This is a very lovely video commissioned by the Singapore Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports "MCYS". Directed by the critically acclaimed and award winning Malaysian film director, Yasmin Ahmad.

The video talks about we need to appreciate our loved ones before something happens to them. Tears sprang in my eyes when I watched this video. It's so lovely and so true. We all have arguments with our spouses sometime or other. In fact, just a few hours ago, my husband and I had an argument in our car over our kids' chesty cough (childhood illnesses like a chesty cough is contagious, infecting everyone, you see). And while we were arguing, Baby started to cough and cough, so much so, he started to puke his dinner all over his car seat. Yikes!

Silly arguments have a way of manifesting over and over in the same manner. Ever had the same problem with your loved ones? Husband, wife, maybe mum or dad or brother and sister? Terrible isn't it? Unconstructive arguments are never a win-win thing. It's lose-lose for all parties.

My girlfriend, over lunch told me her German husband and wife bosses has a relationship expert named Tessie to come over to the office once a week to educate and guide the couple on how to better cope with their relationship, cope with the stress of work and so on. We thought it was a really refreshing idea. Most people are too shy to do this, or too embarrassed to accept help from an expert to make them a better person. Why? And what is wrong in trying to improve oneself right?

Once you have seen this sad but wonderful video, please see this heartwarming young kids love story. It's sure to put a smile on your face. It's also directed by the wonderful Ms Yasmin Ahmad, and it was for the Malaysian Independence Day, about how people of different races can get along. I've seen this video multiple times and it's still cute every time I see it.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Old tyres are put to good use in a building constructed with energy-saving features.

Thousands of used tyres are being used to form the foundation
of new shopping complex Space U8 in Shah Alam.
This revolutionary construction technique creates a heat sink
that will help cool the interior of the building naturally

Tuesday April 7, 2009
Foundation of tyres

Old tyres are put to good use in a building constructed with energy-saving features.

BUILDINGS are the world’s biggest energy guzzler, using more than two thirds of the power produced and contributing to 40% of global carbon footprint, from the construction and maintainance of the building itself.

With those facts in mind, local developer Mainstay Development Sdn Bhd decided to make its new Shop Unit Mall Office development complex in Shah Alam as environmentally friendly as possible. One of the measures taken towards that goal is an unusual one – incorporating almost 220,000 used rubber tyres into the foundation of the building.

Called Space U8 to denote the spaciousness of the building, the complex will be the first ever commercial building to utilise the revolutionary Smart and Cool Homes technology invented and patented by Lincoln Lee. The system uses tyres to create a heat sink that drains the heat from walls built with autoclaved aerated concrete bricks, thus making the building interior cooler and minimising air-conditioning needs.

Located in Bukit Jelutong, the complex spans 3.2ha and consists of 58 units of four-storey shops and offices as well as two basement floors. A large 6,300sqm courtyard in the middle of the complex is the jewel of the building’s crown and the main beneficiary of the Smart and Cool Homes technology.

“The courtyard is the centrepiece of the building and we plan to use it for activities and as a community area. We want to use as little energy as possible to cool it,” said Raja Mohd Azmi Raja Razali, executive chairman of Mainstay Development.

“With this system, the temperature can be lowered by 2°C to 3°C. So there might not be a need for air-conditioning. It won’t be cold but it will be cool and comfortable, with proper wind flow taken into account.”

Lee said the technology saved money that would otherwise be spent on cooling the building. “The biggest bill a building management has to pay every month is usually the one for air-conditioning. But here, they can save 50% to 60% of the electricity used for cooling.”

Besides utilising the Smart and Cool Homes system, the Space U8 building will also incorporate a solar photovoltaic system (around 138 kilowatt peak) on the roof of the courtyard to generate electricity. “The idea is to use solar energy to power common areas as much as we can. Anything extra will be passed to the grid,” said Raja Azmi. “We are also considering the use of solar thermal air-conditioning to reduce the reliance on electricity from the grid to power the air-conditioning.”

To top it all off, the roof of the courtyard is specially designed to receive lots of natural light and provide for optimum temperature and insulation control.

Green space

When Mainstay Development began designing the building, the thought of making it green was already in the plan, though not in a major way.

“We were already looking at energy-saving solutions like energy-efficient light bulbs, energy-saving devices for our car parks that will save about 45% of our energy usage and so on,” said group chief executive officer Ang Teck Seong. Ang then caught wind of Lee’s unique construction method and decided to check it out.

Lee, the 47-year-old executive director of property developer Value Yield, has been building energy-efficient homes with cool interiors that do not require air-conditioning for over 11 years. After paying Lee a visit at his home in Semenyih (which was also built with his technology), Raja Azmi and Ang made the groundbreaking decision of adopting Lee’s technology for their shopping complex.

While the Smart and Cool Homes system has proven to work in residential homes, it is now put to the test on a commercial building for the first time.

“We had to change the entire perception of how to build a building and the engineers were not happy about it,” said Ang with a laugh. “But we know that Lincoln has done this successfully for houses, and we convinced the engineers that it is a workable system.”

When completed, the building will be the largest man-made heat sink created with used tyres in the world – with an estimated 220,000 tyres used in the building foundation, a number that will rise to half a million eventually.

The bigger picture

“We’re definitely taking a risk because it has not been done before and might have some technical issues. It is also going to cost more because of the tyres, solar panels and so on,” said Raja Azmi. “But we agreed that this is something good and worth doing, and we are willing to make sacrifices from a financial and time standpoint to accommodate this.”

To illustrate how much the company has sacrificed, he gave an example – the building foundation was already in an advanced stage of development when Lee came onboard.

“We slowed down construction to incorporate the tyres into the structure. That was quite inconvenient for us,” said Raja Azmi.

Lee estimated that if he had been involved in the project from the start, they would have saved at least RM10mil. Instead, they now will incur an additional RM4mil to RM5mil just to accommodate the tyres in the building foundation.

“Most businessmen won’t do something like this! Maybe as first-time developers, we’re na├»ve enough to take that plunge,” said Raja Azmi with a laugh.

Mainstay Development executive chairman Raja Mohd Azmi Raja Razali (right) and Lincoln Lee,
inventor of the Smart and Cool Homes technology,
at the construction site of the new Space U8 shopping complex.

“We could have just sold the shoplots and washed our hands of it. But we’re in this for the long term. We’ll be managing the complex ourselves and the anchor building will still be owned by us, as well as the car park and the centre courtyard. Therefore, we control the key elements of the building. That is why we are willing to invest in this.”

They also hope to create awareness that global warming is a very real threat, and to lead by example. But Raja Azmi reckoned that developers cannot fight that war on their own.

“The Government should come up with an incentive to encourage developers to do these things. Materials like solar panels can be expensive and not everyone would want to do it. So there must be some incentives for developers like us to want to do it,” he said.

Great video how we can make trash into food

It's a great video on how people can use sustainable ways to create a sustainable lifestyle.

For example, the video talks about how people are trying to create Eco villages and Eco cities in China that uses cheap reusable materials to make houses, and to create an environment to encourage sustainable enterprises to get people to stay and thrive in villages instead of having to migrate to cities to look for jobs. They talk about creating farms on rooftops of buildings in China because as population increases, land for farms will ultimately decrease.

The video also talks about how Nike is trying to create a shoe that uses less raw materials to make, that is safe for the environment, and that is easily recycled when it is trashed later.

There are lots of other interesting info about how man can make a product that can be recycled safely.
Designing every product in such a way that at the end of its lifecycle the component materials become a new resource. Designing buildings in such a way that they produce energy and become a friend to the environment.

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Image taken from http://www.malaysiantoday.com.my/web/modules/news/article.php?storyid=207

A few days ago, I asked my mum how she and her family got rid of their trash in the old days, and she blinked at me and said, "we didn't have that much to throw away to begin with".

We could not afford many things, and plastic was expensive and hard to come by. Most bought stuff was wrapped in paper and tied with a string. Liquids were stored in glass bottles, and a man would come around on a bicycle, once a week, to collect glass bottles (Coke bottles, milk bottles, soy sauce bottles .....), metal cans and newspaper. He'd weigh and pay my mum's family for all the items sold.

All biodegradable trash would be stored in a large bin and another man would go around daily, collecting this trash for the pigs to eat. Yeah, pigs eat just about anything, but thankfully, the pigs have a better diet in controlled farms today.

Most clothes are used until they are really worn out. Hand-me-downs are the norm, and holes are patched to death I tell you. And once no one can wear these clothes anymore, they are used as rags.

Even from the time I was born, disposable diapers were not readily available. And everyone used cloth diapers. Babies were taught to pee and poo at a very young age, so that mums would have less washing to handle LOL. Today, they have a name for this type of potty training; Elimination Communication. My first son was potty trained at 9 months old, when I first learned of this technique, while my 2nd son was trained right from the start. I was surprised at how smart newborns can be. After the 2nd try, just like they said, my baby would pee on cue the moment I said "shhhhhhh". How great is THAT? You can't believe how much money I save on diapers! And even if I do have to use disposable diapers, I don't use that many.

I remembered that the Malaysian government had a campaign on tv to get people to throw their trash in plastic bags. Previously people would just dump their rubbish in the trash can and the garbage man would dump all the smelly rotting items into the dump truck. I remembered this tv public announcement very well. In the short tv clip, they showed this person putting everything into a plastic bag, and putting the neatly tied trash nicely and neatly into the garbage can. When the garbage man came by, in the tv clip I mean, he would just reach into the garbage can and grab the plastic bags, which did not emit any undesirable smell and place it neatly into the garbage truck. The campaign was probably in the 80s, correct me if I'm wrong, as I was just a kid then. But oh boy, if only the government knew the consequences of this campaign in later years. Plastics galore, and no way to get rid of it.

Recently, I read an interesting book from an Australian who encourage people to wrap their trash with newspapers instead of a plastic bag. The idea is, if you reduce, reuse and recycle correctly, you should have very little trash, so much so, it can all be wrapped up in a newspaper. I really like this idea.

Anyways, back to olden day trash. We can learn a few things from those guys way back then. But the most important thing is, we, as individuals, today, must want to start reducing our trash. Earth Hour, Earth Day, Recycling This and That, all those campaigns would be useless if we don't make a point to just reduce our trash daily, without prompting right?

Reduce, reuse, recycle.

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ps if you know of anybody who have babies, or going to have a kid and want to save money, please tell them about Elimination Communication. It can't hurt to try. They can message me via my blog for questions about this method, or they can just Google for information on this.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Probably the best moisturiser I've ever used comes from the kitchen. It's the humble cold pressed oil. Well, maybe not so humble because unlike the normal cooking oil, the cold press oil is in a class of it's own. Something like having a sexy sleek Ferrari rather than a functional 50cc motorbike.

But I swear it's really good. I've been pregnant twice, and I have been using cold press oil on my body and face, and there's no stretch marks at all on my belly. Sure it could be down to genetics, but I have stretch marks on my butt as a result of being a plump teen with a humongous butt, once upon a time (this COULD be too much info right?).

This is how I use it. I would take a shower first, but just before I get out, I would pour about a teaspoon of the luxurious oil onto my palm and rub the oil all over. Then, I take a quick rinse to remove any excess oil. Previously I have missed this step and as a result, the excess oil would stick to the towel and stain it. The end result doesn't feel "oily". My skin just feels satin smooth.

Cold press oil makes a great massage oil for everyone from adults to babies. You could pour a little bit of oil into a small dark bottle as a carrier oil, and you can add a drop of essential oil to make the oil smell nice.

Cold press oil can be obtained from most organic shops, and it can be any type of oil, from olive oil to grape seed oil which is what I'm using now to coconut oil (or sometimes called coconut butter) or palm oil. Cold press oil is raw oil because manufacturers do not use heat to extract the oil, which means all the fabulous vitamins and all the other good stuff are still in the oil. However, because the oil is not heated, the oil can turn rancid faster, so it needs to be stored in a dark glass bottle in a cool place. The other benefit of using cold press oil, and this is one thing most people don't know, is that these oil protects you from the sun, meaning it has some SPF protection.

Some oils like the coconut oil is antibacterial and antiviral. Great for using on children, but unfortunately, my husband doesn't like the coconut oil fragrance, so I have stopped using it.

Cold press oil is also good to eat, to use in your salad dressing but don't use it for cooking. If you want to cook, just stick to regular oil instead, as using raw oil would defeat the original purpose of going raw. Cheaper on the wallet as well.

Raw, cold press oil do have a strong fragrance compared to a normal cooking oil which has no fragrance whatsoever so it may not be suitable for many Asian dishes. But there's many recipes online that would taste great with cold press oil.

Do drop by your local organic store and see what type of oils they have there.

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009


I notice, the more natural products I use, the more the regular shampoo and liquid soaps I use smell unnatural to me. These products actually smell like chemicals to me.

Don't get me wrong. I love beauty products. I use to spend tons of money on them, and there was a time I had 5 different bottles of shampoo in my bathroom. And as a kid, I use to love the smell of petrol. So ok, I was a little weird kid LOL

I suspect my youngest brother is like me. A fan of fragrance. He has all sorts of liquid soaps in his bathroom. And today, I realize my whole perception of fragrance has evolved as I reached out and used his Shokubutsu Orange Peel Sensation body cleanser which says smells like fresh orange peels. Did it smell like fresh orange peel? Not even close. So then, I tried his Shokubutsu Green Tea Harmony. Nope. It didn't smell like green tea. The trouble is Shokubutsu products are said to be 100% cleansing ingredients from plants to gently cleanse, nourish and re-energize skin. It can't be 100% natural products. It didn't smell natural to me, you know what I mean? There must be other chemicals in the bottle. I tried 3 other cleansers in his bathroom and I was really turned off by the fragrance. I just didn't like the smell.

Is something wrong with me? Maybe, maybe not. I think the more I got back to nature, to use more natural products, I really start to appreciate the natural fragrance around me. I have said in my previous post that I have used less store bought beauty products loaded with artificial fragrance, and instead have invested in safe and natural products.

Try it for yourself and see if you feel the same. Use less artificial coloring, artificial fragrance and try to go for more natural products. Then after a while, see if you notice how "artificial" the fragrance added into the products you use everyday can be.

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Saturday, April 4, 2009

Indian Woman Nearly Hit A Child At The Curve Pedestrian Crossing!

I got so mad at this woman this morning. She didn't stop at the pedestrian crossing between The Curve shopping center and Ikea, and because of that, she nearly hit a little girl. This Indian woman, driving a station wagon with a red diplomat car number plate, never blinked an eye, and just kept cruising, nearly slamming into that little girl! Horrifying!

This really makes my blood boil!

It's a pedestrian crossing!

So, I did what I learned at Money and You program. Take a stand and do something about it.

I reached out and smartly rapped at her window to warn her (luckily she wasn't moving fast or else my fingers would have been severely injured I would think). But goodness, she had the cheek to get out of the car to yell at me.

Some people are just mean and selfish aren't they?

It's really time we share some love!

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Wednesday, April 1, 2009


picture taken from http://www.timwu.org

Durian, an Asian super fruit, has been used for centuries in Eastern medicine.

According to Cleo Malaysia magazine (Dec 2008), durian's creamy pulp contains protective antioxidants, hydrating oils and natural sugars which help maintain healthy moisture levels and strengthen cell membranes to prevent skin cell degradation.

Fresh, raw durian is good for all of us ..... but you know, in moderation only ........

How do I know this? Hubby once ate nothing but durians for an entire month (Soccer World Cup Year 2002!). Yup, he did!

He was working from home, so he did nothing but just go out and buy pre cut, pre packed durian meat in a styrofoam box at lunch time, and had them for breakfast, lunch and dinner. No exercise, no sleep, no nothing, except soccer and really painful gas. At first, he could not figure out what made him ill. Was it the lack of exercise? Certainly, vegetating on the couch and no body movement, other than to retrieve food from the plate sitting on the floor and punching the remote control with the thumb, can not be a good thing. But after a while, it dawned on him that the culprit was too much durian. Too much of a good thing, you might say.If you are curious, you can go to his blog and read about his love of World Cup and this gassy experience!

Apparently, durian is so good, Murad is now making anti-wrinkle cream from it. Murad is sold everywhere nowadays, and if you are looking for a jar of this miracle cream, you can try contacting CN Beauty as they are the main distributor of the Murad products in Malaysia.

Go out and have a bite of durian for good health and good looks!

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