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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Another year has gone by.....

Pic taken at Geneva lake with Mounia Ghazalli  August 2011 

Over time, we have come to accept things that we cannot change, and if we are smart enough, we will also live life without regret.. learn from the pass and move on for better..

The past "experience" ; is not something we can't let go. Although regret is something very unfamiliar to certain people. To regret means that part of ourself especially our soul is still lives in the past and doing so is not moving forward.As we grow older, we find it more important to live in a now. 

As i get older, i realize that some things and people are important and some are not. I realize that truth and character are all that matters and those who truly loves you are to be cherished.

I also realize that success is made day by day, and accumulative effort that turns some one's passion into perseverance action. Tomorrow may never come and today maybe the last echo in time on one soul has to another. 

I have no complaints at all of what transpired in 2011 for it was another phase of my life to be remembered and achieved, and one that forced me to learn some important lessons. Now 2012, i believe will be even a better and stronger year, as the past has made me better..

Picture taken @ Geneva with Mounia Ghazalli

Good Bye 2011, and hello 2012... Happy New year to all.. May the peace, calm and stress relieve Borneo vibes brings to you where ever you are in the world.

Benvenuto 2012 !

for girls only, more about Melissa alut lim 

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Memorable Authentic Italian Community lifestyle.Food for thought.

I still have so much to share throughout my journey of discovery in Venice,Rome and Geneva, Switzerland. The beautiful and meaningful part about "homestay" did not just stop at what i did in Marco's house. 

Sara, my master, preparing pasta for continuously since morning. 
Marco's wife, Sara, is a mother of 4 and a chef for thousand people whenever there is a Bazaar or charity fiesta. Cooking for her is not just a passion, but it also enable her to get together with her mate and be merry while preparing dishes for guest. All income,be it drinks or meals will go into donation through the church. 

I may have language difficulty with them however, each and everyone seems carrying their duty diligent and sincerely. So the food presented maybe simple, but it seems to me the best dish i ever had. 

Check out the amount of drumstick and chicken breast to be barbequed. Check out the other side of chicken was the tenderloin beef and pork ribs. Imagine you are preparing this, so imagine standing in front of the charcoal for more then 5 hours.
Lucky the weather was cold. So the charcoal served 2 purposes. To keep warm and to cook. 

So the preparation of charcoal is at the other end, no strong fire to the meat so there were no wastage of over cook chicken or burnt pork rib. 

Young and old, father and son , all are involved in making this fiesta a success.You bring the fine charcoal and i will do the best pork ribs. 
On the other hand, in the kitchen, the women are preparing wedges, chips, onion ring  and each and every duty is being done diligently. 

A wonderful side dish that went very well with my chicken BBQ. But i really cant remember what was the name. :(
I will ask Marco and re caption this photo. 

The kitchen tool.... 

And wallah, here i was.. dancing through the night with the Cowboy dancers.. we had so much fun with the instructor. 

Uno, due, tree, quattro ...girare... anchora anchora ..
So it practically means "1,2,3, turn, again and again", although language is the barrier but those steps doesn't seems hard and anyone can easily join in and have fun.  

This is Martha and her husband.. they both are volunteers in the fiesta. 

Martha daughter, with Deborah ( Marco's daughter) they are just naturally beautiful 

Kiss kiss.... beauty 

Thorn among the roses ?  Nah... make a change "Rose among the thorns"

Experiencing the livelihood, community services and being part of the volunteers, enriching myself with life of Venitien community  is one of most meaningful travelling experience i ever had.

"Anchora, grazie miller Chef Federico, Marco, Sara, Debora, and their beautiful family members of Micieletto"

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Some impromptu photos during hitz FM Malaysia 1st anniversary

Before i even enter, i caught JJ reading Firefly Menu, i guess he was super hungry , but then i know i may have to struggle with others to get him for a photo with me inside the party. So , being the naughty JJ, he immediately grabbed me over and asked Ean to take a sot. 
There you go, Ean and his super look.

And off i left to the party.. and i was shock there were such a long que for entry. 

The Big joy in Such Scarcity- An early Christmas gift for these foreign Kids

On fine afternoon, as i was heading to office in my car, i saw the usual two little girls who use to walk to work in one of the factory nearby Kelombong, Industrial area, pulling a gigantic monkey with their bull strength. They dragged the monkey in such hurry, big smile on their face and of course, they were not able to carry the monkey butt even. it was just too huge ! I quickly pull my car over and turned to them. I braked and i actually came out and chase after them. For one moment they thought i was a cop .. then i ask them to smile ..... and cheeeekkchaaaaak... i got this photo of them. 

"Dik, besar juga monyet ni, dari mana kamu orang dapat ni??"
( Hey Kids, this monkey is humongous, from where did you get it ? )

"Dari tong sampah kak sebelah sana kak"
( From the dumping area over there)

They look at me innocently, know nothing about their future holds and if they will be able  drag this  giant monkey home before the cops came and arrest them. Not because of stealing, but because of their unidentified nationality. 

I tailed them.. and i was just wondering where are they heading... 

Slowly, they went into the bushes, heading to the squatter behind the factory. I wonder, if the monkey is able to fit into their tiny house. As mush as i am concern..... police officers are just behind them....

Friday, November 18, 2011

Calling the Farewell with Breeze- Borneo's Premiere Lifestyle Magazine

Since the re launching of Breeze 2011- Borneo Premiers Lifestyle Magazine; I was given the privileged to contribute my journey of discovery in Borneo. From down below, to mountain high.. Further from adventurous journey to relaxation sun, sea and beach. I may not be a good writer, but putting an effort and pen down my experience and share widespread about Sabah, North Of Borneo perhaps is what i can do for my home land. Marking this farewell, i want to extend my bundle of gratitude to 
Mr. Dinoza ( The creative Director of Breeze) and 
Mdm Noor Ali ( My precious editor, that must have been cracking her head for trying to empathy my article) 

Here are some of my favorite write up in Breeze Mag. This magazine features the happenings in Sabah, personality of young successful Sabahan, local travel destination, events, movies, whats Hot ! and even gossips if you happen to read them. 

July Issue on Animal- Birding With TG Osman in Borneo Rainforest

october issue on Art in Borneo - Borneo Art Tattoo

And the latest issue on "Voluntourism" in Borneo

Breeze is available for free reading at all lifestyle coffeeshop such as Starbucks, Coffeebean, The Core Fitness Centre, or  you can even buy them at RM2.00 at any book store in town.

Kudos to Breeze for the revamp, making it a social networking magazine among locals and reaching out to Brunei and Sarawak , you guys work hard and stretch a lot to the neighboring land.

Ciao Breeze.. keep up the good spirit !

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Tamu Besar, Kota Belud

This Bajau Boy, leading his horse,in his utmost pride, marching into the centre of Kota Belud field.

    Kota Belud- Generally reckon by the locals as the Cow boy town of Sabah, North Borneo. Tamu Besar, means the feast market which gathered everyone far and near around Kota Belud, to display their best products such as fruits, greeneries(vegetables), handicrafts, local desserts, or even battle nut leaves and  traditional cigars collection. As far as i can remember, the last time i visited Kota Belud, when my grandpa was still alive and he used to hold my hand and walk around negotiating his marketing in Bajau languages. He is gone now and these Bajau traders has turn totally strangers to me, as i sometimes have totally no idea what are the traditional name of certain mouth watering fruits or local delicacies.
As the Bajau are generally also the "sea gypsies" especially those at the east coast, fisheries is also one of their expertise and survival income. Here, in the fish market, you can see, plenty of freshfish selling cheap and fresh, choices at your fingertips.


Of course, the prime moment of this Tamu Besar would be the Horse and Buffalo parade that became the centre attention of the crowd.

Parades Move on forming various patent to show symbolic of Bajau tribal victory.
As the horse parade went on, the Kulintangan team keep the rhythm
alive for the riders to follow.   

A Bajau woman concentrating on her Kulintangan instrument.

Beside the Trojan horses, the buffaloes were also one of the main attention gather of the event. Buffalo were once a multi purpose  animal especially to the paddy owners, it is not only as a working tools but also a gift for the bride's family  if a guy is about to marry a Kadazan Dusun daughter in the family. 
The buffalo race is no doubt the most exciting game to view. Taking into account of the heavy rice bag to carry along while controlling the buffalo, i suppose this is not an easy game to handle.

Last but not least, you also have a chance to savour  a moment of being the Bajau queen. The whole world is looking at you, and your hero is the typical Bajau alike "SANDOKAN". Further to the attention from the whole town. What more can you ask for :)

Till we meet again next year! Yeeeehhhaaaaa....

Monday, October 24, 2011

Its been a while, i am back to Firefly

Sorry .. not the Malaysian Domestic airline i am talking about. It is the one in Kota Kinabalu, North Of Borneo.A place where you can meet Gen-y to chill, enjoy lifeband and have some decent meal or finger food at your choice.

Its been a while.. and for certain reason, i need this shot for to jazz up again... The Borneon vibe is back. See you sometimes in FireFly Bar & Grill, KK Timesquare, Jalan Coastal, along Sutera Harbour Resort.

Salute !

Melissa Alut Lim 

Monday, September 26, 2011

HOMESTAY- A Holiday with Purpose

So, in Borneo ( where i was born and living la vida loca ) is a geographically well blended terrain where there is low land Dipterocarp Jungle, mountain high land and coastal of vertically unseen beach. With the compilation of 36 ethnic groups and more then 80 languages spoken here. Homestay is one of the most exciting and booming product in my country.

Nevertheless, a one month homestay in Manzan family, has given me a total change of my stereotyping mindset about the culture of Italy. Yes, they can be fashion up scale or food and wine critics, but their years civilization and enthusiasm in surviving skill has turn into world indulgence.

Woke up by dawn to feed the hungry animals, and plucking plants for the preparation of lunch and dinner; just like how the Kudat, Sabah ( our indegeneous folks are doing, same fundamental with the concept  of " Building community capacity by utilizing natural resources" , i know , it sounds boring and tough... but this is how i can describe in the shortest form...

Feeding more then 20 rabbits at one go. Preparing for winter to come. 
Goose, Chicken and duckling all lives in harmony
The little ones need to be protected or they will be the victim for the big ones. 

Sara, counting her canary, and new incoming chicks ..

Even cultivating bee hive ( just like Kudat Bee farm) is one of the homestay activities. 

Feeding Wendy, the only pampered cow in the farm. 

Beside lots of healthy grain and mice, Wendy and her folks , the donkeys also being served 'silage" as their  dessert. 

Plenty of guinea pigs running around. 
Turkeys ( Tukiny) finding a shade for themselves, avoiding the summer solar. 
Louis, the donkey that woke me up with his " heeee-hoooo" every morning. 
Even the piggy ( Roxy) get to eat quality cereals ( i mean mice, corn and micture of  dried nuts and seeds)

So these are just some domestic farm animals that turned into meals during the winter, of course exclude te guinea pig and dogs if you could see Gulio is hiding behind at the second picture.

Further to that, these are only the farm management for the daily morning routine, i will post more on Sara's vegetable and grapes yard, her workmanship of sun dried fruits and grains.Judging at the time they spend in a day on food preparation,no wonder Italia has the top chef in the world.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

"merci beaucoup" (Masibuku).." How did i end up in France?? An unexpected adventure out of Venice

The story began when my plan to Geneva, Switzerland is to visit my brother in Montreoux. This is my first time travelling solo in Europe and most of all, without knowing a words of French. ( generally the common language in Swizz and France is French). Before arrive Geneve, i have been trying very hard to get myself a backpacker lodge or bed and breakfast that could accommodate my budget. Clean, convenient and budget of course. Luck was not my side, just too bad, i didnt manage to get any room , even a bunk bed that i could shower and rest, till the last minute, Mounia ( a good friend of mine who had her intern in Sabah, please refer here)

My flight from Rome to Geneve was at 8 25pm arriving Geneve around 10 50pm. I was panic, wandering around Rome airport to get a WIFI spot that i could concentrate and search for a place to bunk in at least for a night upon my arrival.I mourn to everybody, i asked for help from anyone that i possibly could.There were no respond, none even from my brother.

 Till the very last minute i depart from Rome to Geneva Airport, Mounia text me a hotel reservation number, and it was a total relieved.

The moment i arrived Geneva airport, i rushed to the information counter to ask about the address given. And i was recommended to take a cab as it is too late at night to go by train or bus. In my heart, i know this is going to be a challenging moment, due to language, absolute new to Swizz, plus no news from my brother upon my arrival.

I walked to a taxi, it was a Mercedez Benz ( all the taxi were luxurious, Peugeot, Citreon, Merz and Renault ) what else could i say, i have to go with the flow.... gosh, i got on with an Albanian ! " oh my, in my heart, i just keep hoping that i will not be slotterd, cheated or being brought to a place and being robbed or being told to stripped.. my mind was shallow, i was exhausted, my mind only needs to get to hotel, after a whole day transit in Rome airport.

He ( Hussein) the taxi driver speaks barely English, but he was trying to explain to me that, the address i gave to him is a Province under the country of France. I actually was shocked, how could it be? In the internet it said 12k from Geneva airport? And the address ended with Geneve..???? I started being alert, and keep my eyes wide open for the signage... but .. nothing is upon my creadibility. The French words are totally not understandable. I would just have to pray, and hope that i dont get kidnapped.

We passed through tunnel, exit highway, and then entering another province, and toll... the roads are getting dark and we are entering into a village area that has no street light. I was nervous and i told Hussein to call the hotel for the exact direction. He said " Madam, you are at FRANCE..."

" What??? FRANCE? NO .. NO.. im going to Geneva, you got it wrong...! please call the hotel " .. and so he did, but its 12am, no one pick up. And taxi meter charge rotating like a timer... i know . either i kill my budget, or i die in his hand...

After an hour of search and round robin, asking around some drunken lorry driver at the bar near by, security on duty and even some passer by... we found the hotel... it was a typical motel at the BORDER of FRANCE and SWIZZ. OH MY GOSH... the amount of lorry parking outside the hotel , and the campervan .... i know this is a typical , local tourist hotel, that any foreign tourist will never know.

View Larger Map

Hussein, assisted me in getting my reservation sorted with the machine ( since its almost 1am, reception counter was closed and i can only deal with a FRENCH speaking machine), and even reduced the charges of taxi fee for me.

That night, i was absolutely flat. Alone in this tiny room, I ARRIVE FRANCE OUT OF EXPECTATION, AND AM AT THE BORDER OF FRANCE AND SWITZERLAND. What an experience of my life !

The moral of this experience is "Never trust the internet information 100%".

Thank God i am still alive !

A 300 sq ft room, with bunk bed and a face wash basin, plus a small table and TV,  No AC, with a big window facing the back yard ( car park).

A automated Self check In machine that only speak French. Making me stuck outside the hotel for more then 30 minutes during my first day. hotel, located at the border of France and Geneva, surrounded by manufacturing factories and in the middle of no way. 

Mounia, manage to have some fun while walking along the highway to get a "hitch-hike"- free ride.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Rugby World Cup Fever ; Me & The Rugby Boys

The Rugby World Cup 2011 is held from 9th September to 23rd October 2011. 
With the Rugby World cup fever spinning around Europe boys, it seems that every young woman will have to pick up a little about rugby jargon, or news in order to catch up a conversation with the "real" guys. So, here i am trying to get hold of what Rugby game is all about. Instead of  learning the technique and match point.. i think i  have learnt a lot more about the Italian Jargon during my first encounter as a totally unknown spectator.

Rugby- is a form of sport that developing a boy to a physical and mental fit man. In Treviso, Rugby is a passion for most of the man. Be it to themselves or developing it to their son at home. This is also a mode of developing the sense of belonging in a small community like Treviso.

Last week, I have the chance to watch a friendly match of UNDER-15 boys between Villorba and Oros of the neighboring district. They were humungous! Their size are double of most of the 15 years old boys in Malaysia. For one moment I thought, finally I will be able to see some “beautiful man” in action. Ha~ I was wrong, they are my little brothers whom Massi (the eldest son of Marco) will match with.
The boys marching out in their full uniform. Villorba which is  my team is in yellow.

It’s a friendly match, but to them it’s an adrenaline “MUST WIN” competition, this is because Villorba team never lose in any game. They have been holding the champion for more than 8 years. The coach speaks in his hoarse voice, reminding, alerting and keep pumping the spirit of the young horses, as they were performing their warm up session. 
Everything went serious, some drama session along the game, and check out the physio therapist, i know some  some friend of mine might think , how nice if rugby game in Sabah to have a woman therapist:) 
I like this part , lots of arm strength needed.

The game started with Villorba heading easily. I have no idea how this game is counted. All I can listen was each parent are cheering for their son’s best move. All I can hear is something like this:-

“ Dai, Dai, Dai… Nikola Dai… Va bene, va bene ! Sastansio …. SASTANSIO..Via ! Via!....  si! Si! Si! Ecolla, Bravo ! Bravo ragazzo.. Ballisimo!”  ( claps with laughter )

Which literally translate to :-

 “ Come on! Come on ! Nikola Come on.. OK, OK! Sustain…. Sustain …Go ! Go ! There it is ! Great ! my great boy ! Beeeeeeautiful! …..”

( I always thought that DAI .. DAI... DAI ... is "DIE."  Dont get it wrong, it literally means Come on !" ) 

Drama goes on. ...
Parents putting hope in their children.... with all concentration and cheers. 
The game finished with the scored 20-5. I am lucky to have Marco explaining to me a little about rugby game and technique. The parents are happy, so am i.. happy that such small occasion I indulged in the expression and action of excited Italian parents.

Till then.. Buona Notte ( good night ) to my Malaysia friends.