Friday, February 20, 2009

Family Bash at Atlantic College Grounds

I am now back in Tenby, Wales. It's cold outside with temperatures below 10 celcius. I have been a little under the weather with a bout of cough that had lingered since Bintulu and the cold does not auger well for this cough. I arrived London on Sunday morning travelling straight from Bintulu and stopping over in PeeJay only for a couple of hours to pick up essentials to be brought to Tenby. One of Fahrul's colleague was in the same flight with me and he had arranged ground transport to Tenby, so I had a ride and company travelling from London to Wales. It was very cold that morning. Snow, which fell a couple of days ago was still on the grounds along some parts of the route. I noticed a couple of stray wild deers along the way, apparently looking for food and getting away from the cold jungle.

Fahrul's colleagues and families (four families) had planned an outing to Atlantic College, a private college, located near St Donats, by the coast South of Wales. There are several Malaysian students in the college, all at pre-U level, and one celebrating his birthday, is the son of a close acquaintance of all the families while another was a relative of one of the families. This trip was planned as a surprise birthday visit.
The two of us from London met up with the families at one of the rest areas along the highway. Ram, Najla and Fahrul came in one car and I joined them from there. It was about 10am and the weather was fine but windy and cold. On arrival at the college and after meeting up with the two students we spent some time touring the sprawling and hilly campus grounds, after toilet service of course, and located a nice picnic spot somewhere in the lower grounds of the complex. The birthday boy was really caught by surprise with our presence and with the little kids running and playing gave that added family affair to him. The weather too changed for the better as the day progressed on and we could shed the thick coats we had on in the morning. With the children running and playing it was merriment all round.
There was food and more food that day. The families agreed earlier on 'pot luck' but when each family prepared food more than enough for four families we ended up having food more than enough for 4x4 families. By afternoon we had most of the Malaysian students in the college joining us and there were still more food left. I think all of them had something to 'take away' at the end of the day!!

Najla, as usual started slow. She really takes her own time to warm up to her friends. She was crappy initially, having been awakened from her nice snuggly slumber during the travel in the car, but brightened up later, with all the attention given to her by the elder children. Soon she was running around and there was no stopping her then.

We left the college at about 3.30pm and stopped over at Bridgend Designer outlet for a spot of shopping, on ladies' request that was. Najla was more interested in the childrens' rides and I, I was more interested to get into bed heh heh! It was about 7pm by the time we reached home, pooped and exhausted but it was a good outing nevertheless. The Malaysian students had a surprise meeting up with the families within the college grounds and the birthday boy really had a surprise party put up specially for him. It made the day everybody's day, and the kids? they all had a gala time............

MKI Ramblings Unlimited
Tenby, Wales

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Nourishing the Body as part of Health and Wellness

I have put out my thoughts on nourishing the mind and the soul. Let me now express my thoughts on nourishing the body, the vehicle that we use to achieve our life goals, our dreams, our ambition and anything that we want to achieve. Clearly this vehicle has to be kept in tip top condition always.

Principally, our body needs various types of nourishment. These can be grouped into air, food and water, specifically clean air and oxygen, good food and clean water. Many people would say eat a balanced diet and exercise to keep healthy. I can’t agree with them more. But I would venture into more than just a balanced diet and exercise. We cannot take these for granted anymore, especially in this modern age of computers and cyber technology. Technology has changed a lot of things in our life. Even the basics in our life have changed. Technology is supposed to make life much easier, much simpler and pleasant but yet it has created a lot of other effects that works counter to the intent.

The air we breathe, is it clean? Even if we live in the remote area we cannot take for granted that the air we breathe is always clean. Some industries have taken to move their operations to the remote areas. I have seen factories in the remote areas spewing smock out of their stacks continuously. They are away from the cities and big towns and hence away from the authorities. Away from prying eyes and they proceed with their activities unhindered. Animal rearing is also done in the remote areas at commercial scales. Modern methods of animal rearing use a lot of artificial processes, chemicals and additives. Check what these are made of. A majority of them are from synthetic and inorganic stuff. Somehow these will get into the environment and pollute the surroundings. Thus air and water cleanliness can be affected.
Let us now look at the food that we eat daily. Eat a lot of fruits, they say, a lot of vegetables is good for you. Yes it is true they are good for you but what type of vegetables, what types of fruits? Those that have been grown commercially, chemicals, insecticides, pesticides and what have you having been applied copiously on them to make them look fresh in the market and entice you to buy them? The insects will not eat them and we happily buy and eat them? That is the sad situation in this time and age.

When we are hungry, our body yearns for nutrients and a little carbohydrate. But when we eat we consume a lot of carbohydrate and very little nutrients. That little nutrient is soon used up and you are hungry again. The stuff that we buy from the market, whether it is the wet market or the supermarket, are almost always commercially grown or propagated and harvested. These processes reduce the amount of nutrients. As an example the fruits that look inviting, nice and shining, is not really what they appear to be. It was harvested when it was still young and not ripened yet. It was allowed to ripen in a box in the warehouse. To prevent it from deteriorating, some coatings are applied to it. The coating makes it look nice and shiny. But when it was harvested when still young has it got enough nutrients in it? Certainly not. Hence when we eat it we not only eat the roughage if that is what it is made of but we also eat the additives, and the coatings and the chemicals that come with it. Have we got the nutrients? No, there are not enough nutrients in it. So, what value has it got for our body? Deteriorating value. Take another example, the nice fried chicken you set on the table for dinner. Where did the chicken come from? It originated in a chicken farm where the chicks grew to be chicken and all the while see the lights from the light bulb in its cubicle that it shares with many other chicks and chicken. Throughout its life it does not get to see sunlight. It leads a stressful life in its cubicle. Under these stressful conditions the chicks will not grow up to be meaty and sizeful chickens. Oh no, we just add vitamins, and additives and hormones and what have you, to make the chicken grow and ready for the market or supermarket but with low nutrients and full of the artificial additives and hormones and the what have you. This is what we eat nowadays.

There are more to the above. A lot of the commercial foods we get now are processed food. Processed foods lose its natural nutrients and are replaced by artificial ones and usually full of carbohydrates and sugar. The value of these foods is questionable. Our body needs natural nutrition more and fewer carbohydrates but we get food of the reverse. Any wonder now why we see more people on the heavy side, obese and oversize. Even school going children have grown heavier in comparison. I also noted kindergarten children are getting heavier and fatter too. Check the statistics, this trend is increasing.

So we need to nourish our body well. Not just balanced diet but balanced lifestyle. Be conscious of the food we eat and for what we put in try to put it out as well. What I mean is we eat and we must also exercise. It does not matter what or how you exercise, as long as you work the calories out you are doing it right. Organise and plan your time, to include these healthy practices. Done regularly, you will notice the difference in a matter of weeks. Feel the energy in your body, the glow in your face, the smoothness of your skin and you are then well on your way to a good life…… may you be blessed with good health and happiness always…… and with that achieve your dreams and ambitions…….

MKI Ramblings Unlimited

Monday, February 09, 2009

Nourishing the Soul as Part of Health and Wellness

Let me continue my thoughts on Health and Wellness that I wrote some few weeks ago. Let me continue from where I left off, that was nourishing the mind as part of health and wellness. These are purely my thoughts and without reference to any material source.

The mind arranges the software of our body while the soul acts as the programme for the software to run on. The soul is the base to the mind. Nourishing the soul is nourishing the platform for the mind to activate on. Therefore the soul needs to be aligned to what the mind sets to do.

To me, nourishing the soul is a step towards life fulfillment and couple it with a nourished mind gives advantages with inner peace. A nourished soul fills up one’s life. An empty soul would leave one without feelings and emotions, bare and lifeless. Then there is the life energy in oneself, the energy to initiate the mind and the soul to function. This energy resides in the body and silently triggers life forces such that the body functions positively. It is like the electrical current that is not seen but is energy to start things going.

Prayers, meditation, silent moments, are ways to nourish the soul and this can be further energized by harnessing the life energy in oneself. The Chinese calls this chi sometimes spelt as qi. People who practice yoga, ‘mantram’, meditation, silent prayers, zikir and similar practices inevitably bring out the life energy in them. Feelings of contentment, peace and self satisfaction will follow these silent sessions. If this life energy is properly harnessed and if done regularly, the energy generated can help ward off illness as the energy harnessed will fight foreign matter intervention that degenerate body function and cause illness. Hence nourishing the soul regularly will promote health and wellness. Therefore, prayers not only improve your relationship with your creator it also help generate life energy and forces and improve health. It does not cost anything and yet the benefits are tremendous. So, why do people, some of them, shy away from these silent moments, the prayer thing? It is free and yet difficult to acquire……. May the Almighty provide guidance to me always……..

MKI Ramblings Unlimited

Saturday, February 07, 2009

1st of the Four February Birthdays...

I have been back in Bintulu for about one week now, since the beginning of the month that is. There are four February birthdays in the family starting with the 7 years old Dedek's birthday falling on the 2nd. He wanted dinner at a new restaurant, the all you can eat chicken buffet restaurant, that was recently established in Bintulu. Shaffik was away in KL and Mini has had enough of chicken she said. So it was me with the three kids for dinner at the restaurant.

It was a gloomy evening on Monday the 2nd. It had been raining the whole afternoon and continued to be wet and drizzling through to the night. I brought the three kids to the 'all you can eat' chicken restaurant. There were only a couple of tables occupied when we arrived. Two other families with grown up children came in while we were there. So, it was rather quiet in the restaurant except for the noise of my grandchildren.

Haadieya was the liveliest of the siblings. She wanted to eat whatever we, the others, ate but she would only take one or two spoons of the soup, one or two bites of the chicken and anything else. She wanted to taste all and I had to finish up after her. I just cannot leave the unfinished food on the plate. Similarly the birthday boy went into the restaurant full of enthusiasm but all he had was a small portion of the potato soup, one drumstick and a couple of sliced fruits. He tried a second drumstick but could only manage less than half of it. Babang, his elder brother on the other hand ate better than his siblings. He had two and a half pieces of chicken, the half from Dedek, finished a bowl of soup with a bun, a plate full of cut fruits and some mashed potatoes. Not much if you look at what they ate, but if you see our table at the end of it all it looked as though there was a big feast there, with all the dirty plates and bowls and bits of food strewn on the table!! Looks like what I paid for the dinner was more for the cleaning up of the table than for the food consumed, heh heh!!

All the while the kids were playful, making fun and noisy. I could see the other patrons, the other grown up children, eyeing the kids with their antics. Out of nowhere Dedek asked if he could have five ringgit cash from me. I asked what for, and he said, "nothing, I just want five ringgit...... " with hands gesturing palms upside. I said I would give him five ringgit if he would take off his pants and dance on top of the table, heh heh! challenging him. He said noooo! amidst laughter from his siblings and smiles from the neighbouring table. I told him no dance without pants on the table no five ringgit..... He appeared serious then, stood up and pretended to unbuckle his belt as though attempting to take off his pants, cheered by his siblings, but he shyly chickened out. The sister just cannot help tormenting him after that... Dedek cannot dance, Dedek cannot dance, she said.

Babang and Dedek are one year apart while Haadieya is three years younger than Dedek. The two boys get along well with each other but not Dedek and the sister. They are at each other always and usually for no apparent reasons. On our way home in the car I just commented, "somone phoot" that's letting off gas from the back!! Guess how they responded.... Babang and Dedek both responded, "not me not me...." but Haadieya said, "Dedek, Dedek.... pheeyewww so smelly" I just made it up mind you and there can't be any smell of tummy gas, and she nonchalantly responded and blaming Dedek. That's just one example of how the two of them get on each others nerves. Definitely there was a short spurt of the two getting on each others throat for her comments and I just had to shout amidst the din for them to stop it. Heh heh.. there you go... no dull moments with the kids....

The Birthday Boy and The Tormentor

MKI Ramblings Unlimited,