This feeling, it will pass

"urghhh... what time is it?" Shit, I had woken him up again. The night before I did my best to sneak out of the room on tip toes when I thought he'd been asleep. Tonight I slept in socks in hopes that that wold completely silence my footstep, but he'd always been such a light sleeper.

"It's 2.30... go back to sleep," I said quietly as I twisted the handles of my bedroom door. At this point I wonder why I let him sleep in my bedroom.

"2.30? Did you even sleep or were you up the whole time?" By now he's sitting on the bed. In the dim light I could tell how drowsy he is. Honestly, I am envious. He's the kind of person that falls asleep within 5 seconds of his head resting on the pillow. Me on the other hand, an insomniac.

"Sorry I woke you. I thought I'd get a glass of water." We were on separate beds, his literally across the room, mine just beside the door. Yet somehow, between the rusling of my blanket and those few steps to the door I manage to wake him up.

"Yeah don't sweat it. I'd wake if an ant dropped his food on the floor anyways. And there's a jug of water and a cup on the bedside table. Where were you going, really?" I remembered the night before I had poured the jug in case he got thirsty.

"Owh, right. I forgot." Lame excuse.

"You wanna talk about it?" I had let go of the doorknob without opening the door. I turned to him wondering if it's a good idea to talk now. It is in the weird hour of the night and we both need to go to work tomorrow. Sleep for me is less of an importance, more of a luxury that I can never seem to afford anymore. But for him, and every normal human being, sleep is a necessity.

"It's late, you have work tomorrow. Go back to sleep." I said, reaching once again for the doorknob. I didnt know where to go or what to do at this hour - probably just roam the seven hundred square foot, one bedroom apartment until I bore myself and go back to bed hoping sleep would come eventually.

"Yeah I'll get the beers. You tell me what's been bothering you, and if it's the same thing, please, by all means refresh my memory." He lit the bedside lamp and was already on his feet. I opened the bedroom door and headed left in the hallway towards the kitchen. "Look, there's always a solution to every problems. For those you think you can't solve, seek help. Give it time. Talk to us. We're friends, right?"

"Yeah," I replied solemnly as I sat on the island. He took our two bottles of beers out of the fridge, handed one to me. "Cheers," I said.

"Cheers. You know, I've known you for so many years, this isn't the first time for you - surviving a break up - but I can tell that it's probably the worst."

"You think?" I sniggered.

"Yeah. It's been what, a year? And you're still depressed as fuck." has it really been a year? Nah, he's exaggerating. It felt like yesterday when she left. "What I don't get though, is this is the shortest one but it had the biggest impact on you." I must've been 16, 17 when I had my first girlfriend. We stayed together for 7 years. The one after that was 5 years and with her, it was only 3 years.

"At this rate my next relationship would probably last a year." I quipped, finding the statement both morbid and amusing at the same time.

"Or it could last a lifetime?" It could. I suddenly crave for a cigarette but I had finished my pack earlier and didn't buy a fresh pack. Now I come to regret my decision. "What was she like to you? You know, back when you were together?"

"Real." It was a sort and quick answer.

"Real? What do you mean?" It did beg an explanation.

"It felt real, like we had a future together. I had it planned out , when my business gets stable enough, we'd get a place together. We made plans for the future."

"... and?"

"And when she got that job, it felt even more real. Yeah, she had to move away but I read that as an opportunity - a choice, whether we'd settle down in a new city or wait for her to come back."

"She never did." he said.

"She never did."

"What I don't get tho," he took a swig of his bottle, swallowed and continued. "... is why did she broke up with you. If things were going so well, why did she dump you?"

"Wise choice of words to say to a broken heart."

"I'm not a poet."

"Well it was my fault. Remember a couple of years back, thing thing with the car and how business was slow, I had a lot of things on my mind?" Wow it really had been a year.

"Yeah? You were just about like this. Less extreme, less suicidal, but just about. What happened?"

"She took it as a sign that I didn't want her in my life."

"Wow.. really? She hasn't seen that side of you before?" I met his eyes, and I saw a glimpse of bewilderment. This person, and another girl I like sharing drinks with, they eased into my life without much adjustment. Understanding that I am a chaos of contradiction.

"Nope. I guess it scared her away. I've probably seen her at her worst, loved her for who she is - may not yet completely but we were definitely learning."

"but that's not what's been keeping you up all night every night? How do you do it, by the way. I mean, for sure I'll be a little tired tomorrow morning but you, with literally a couple of hours of sleep every day, how could you function?"

"haha. You tell me. Naps, I guess?" I do tend to nap a couple of time throughout the day.

"Yeah, I noticed you need more of those lately. But tell me, what's bothering you?"

"She gave up on me. It was simple as that."

"She gave up on you, so you decided to give up on yourself?" the silence that came next was so thick you could cut it with a knife. "She stopped loving you so you decided to stop loving yourself? She didn't want you in her life anymore so you decided it's not a life worth living anymore? Is that it?"

"There's not much to go on for after she left."

"I'm not gonna say I know how you feel, but trust me, I'm trying to understand. It's not the best feeling to be invalidated like that, but these feelings, they will pass."

That's what I tell myself every day. That today is another day. Work the routines. Eat, maybe go for a jog. A smile, a laugh, couple of texts from other friends. A quick shower at the end of the day, maybe read off a few pages of a book, then sleep. Or pretend to sleep. Rinse and repeat the next day.

Every now and then there's bound to be outings with different groups of friends. Some drinks, maybe enjoy a movie, maybe go for a karaoke night. There'll be deadlines to catch, new projects, new clients.

But in all of that, I'll probably never feel valid ever again. But this is my burden, not yours.

"Yeah, I'm sure it will. But for now, let's go back to sleep."

FEMME FATALE: The Fashion Temptation

Congratulations on the new outlet Femme Fatale!
With so many malls popping up in Kuching, it's not a surprise big brands and fashion houses flock over and launch their outlets here. The latest one - Femme Fatale! Located in VivaCity Megamall, officiated by General Manager Ms. Christine Lee and VivaCity Megamall Center Manager Mr. Jonathan Naming.

Femme Fatale, for those non-familiar, is a boutique that strongly believes that women should be able to adorn themselves with original designer bags and have access to them without the need to leave the country for their shopping spree. Femme Fatale hosts beautiful, desirable and in trend, authentic designer bags and accessories from the most prestigious names: Prada, Balenciaga, Burberry, Miu Miu, Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent (YSL), Fendi, Christian Dior and many many more.

Anything and everything you purchased at Femme Fatale under whichever names or brands you so desire comes with a certificate of authenticity, original care cards, warranty cards, dust-bags and packings, very much the same as you would if you were to go to a specific designer boutique. So you don't have to worry about carrying a "fake" product, simply because you did not buy it from the brand's own boutique because Femme Fatale is all about the authenticity and accessibility of design bags and accessories.

If you're also wondering if Femme Fatale carries these brands as an appointed distributor, the answer is no. They are in fact a parallel importer of these products. Most of the collections in their boutiques are exclusive, limited editions and unique models that are not available in the respective brands' boutiques in Malaysia. With the option to select each pieces as importers, Femme Fatale is able to house them in multi-brand store environment for the pleasure and convenience of their customers. Furthermore, for each items in the store, only limited units are available ensuring each design remain unique to their patrons.

Note that every 2 to 3 months, Femme Fatale will refresh her collections with the latest and trendiest. Pricewise, you'll be happy to know that they retail at lower price than the official retail price in respective brands' boutiques. Femme Fatale also offers easy payment scheme (up to 24 months) so you can shop without denting your monthly expenditure to the point of breaking.

For those in Kuching specifically, Femme Fatale boutique is located at G-015, Ground Floor, VivaCity Megamall (psssttt!! it's right next to Secret Recipe). If you're the online type like me, their facebook link is here and instagram here.

Now.. what do you recon I spend these vouchers on?

Couchsurfing Saturday: Locked Out of My Own Car with BBQ Stuffs in it?


So if by chance I haven't talk about this group of super awesome people that are the Couchsurfers, I'm talking about them now. And if you haven't heard about them, well you heard about them here first!

At least from what I gathered, every major cities in the world has a group of Couchsurfer hosts that will either hang out with travellers, take them out to local hotspots (that are not limited to the popular touristy ones) or even host you for a night or two.

So if you're planning to travel cheap and immerse yourself in the local culture, what better way than to actually meet the locals and have them take you to places! As for myself, I'm part of the Kuching Couchsurfers. Several things to highlight about this group (and generally about all Couchsurfers out there) are: super-friendly and helpful, well informed, non-judgemental and very much welcoming in just about every single way - within respectful boundaries, of course.

And guess what, while you're reading this, you've just missed one of the best gathering of Couchsurfers ever! Last Saturday began with brunch at the famous Mom's Laksa - Tripadvisor recommends (there are several outlets, we went to the one in Jalan Haji Taha). I'll admit it was one of the plans that I didn't expect to commit fully because I was supposed to meet friends but as they cancelled and I was already out and about, I decided to join them anyways.

We took off from Mom's Laksa to get some groceries for the bbq later that same evening where even more Couchsurfers; hosts and travellers, would join up as well. But lemme tell you about the stupid thing I did.. or didn't do.. I did not pick up my car keys from the dashboard after we stowed away about half of the groceries - chicken, hotdogs and veges mostly - in my car. Yeap.. I locked myself out.

After about an hour, a couple of minutes of Youtube instructions and a bit of nylon ropes, we managed to pull the lock off my car - without damaging it or triggering any alarm - and recovered my keys. It was a general consensus that that was some MacGyver sh*t that we pulled off there! So thanks everyone for the support - Kelvin, Teemo, Dee, Jeff, Brett, everyone ^^. And specifically for putting up with my clumsiness!

Next stop was the host - Matnoor - at his awesome place Matang Wildlife Homestay (booking and enquiry link here). It was the perfect venue for evening bbq, karaoke and get together. No neighbours left or right to annoy, right on top of a hill (kinda hard to miss) and just about everything under one roof.

Before the even fell and the last daylight went out, we managed to grab a rather late lunch at Telaga Air. A small and quaint village, we must've been on an incline because my car definitely struggled uphill, sampled the locally fresh made jellyfish umai (look it up, it's really good I recommend you try it yourself if you have the chance) and had coconut shake for dessert. On a hot (but definitely beautiful) dah such as that day, the smooth cold drink definitely quench your thirst.

Then we headed for the beach. Although the tide was low, a couple of us stayed for a swim and the rest - myself included - headed back to the homestay to prep up for the evening bbq. The view was great at the beach. It was literally untouched! Nobody else but us at the beach, the breeze was good, and the weather fine!

Lemme tell you something else I discovered that night - talents. Talents everywhere! There were no lacking of drum players, guitar players, singer/songwriter, bakers (OMG the scones! To die for!!!), IT people to sort out a couple of kinks with the karaoke system (and impromptu background). Hang on did I mention dessert? Jean OMG the cream caramel! Bye bye waistline, I won't miss you anytime soon! Hahaha! Fact: I woke up a little after noon the next day. Two words: Food coma.

There were so oh so many stories told, customs exchanged, differences understood and respected, languages spoken, knowledge learned! It'l like you're abroad in your own place. A huge thanks to the organisers who made it happen - thanks Dee, Kelvin and Matnoor for letting us have one of the best of many many more experiences to come.

If you're coming to Kuching, look us up on the Couchsurfing website; and welcome to Kuching! If you're planning your next trip, keep an eye on the Couchsurfing community at the place you're going. Who knows, you might end up with an experience that'll definitely last a lifetime. And friends too. Lots and lots of friends.

Nando's - Your Eyes Eat First!

Honestly, I've only had Nando's once before - that was when I was on a short trip to KL and my (then) girlfriend asked me to get her a half-a-chicken from KLIA2. It was also my first time in that airport, and between rushing to check in to my flight, drop off luggage and getting completely and utterly lost, I managed to haul the half-a-chicken to her house; paper-bag and all!

It was lemon and herbs, as I recall - and having spend several hours in transit, there isn't much left to the flavor so I never thought twice of having it again. That, and the fact that there wasn't any Nando's in my city (or state for that matter).

Until now... 

When Nando's opened at VivaCity Megamall, I could never find the time or company to go! I even missed the launch - Nando's hatching in Kuching. Get it? Hatching? Because of Nando's specialty?

Fast forward several months - maybe close to a year idk - I spent several weeks in Miri. When I came back, the first thing I did was visit The Spring mall (because!). Surprise surprise, Nando's opened up another casa there! (Nando's outlet/restaurant = casa)

First impression: what a nice place to dine! There wasn't alfresco seating (there is in VivaCity) but it makes sense because Kuching is a hot city. The ambiance was dotted with circular leather booths, small tables for two, four and six as well as a huge table that could seat 10 to 12 persons easy! Get this, they're all made of genuine leather and wood too. The chandeliers are warm, half the walls were glasses letting the natural light in (selfie addicts, lighting here is life!) and the other half is dotted with decor from recycled materials as well as South African artwork (hello new profile picture lol).

Ah I forgot to take shots of the wash basin! It was so cleverly designed I woudn't mind sitting next to it at all (it's a personal preference thing because I prefer less traffic around where I sit)

Modern and comfy!

Art and decor is something that I also wanted to touch on. The Nando's Global Art initiative features Southern Africa creativity worldwide - turning their outlets into an art gallery of pieces sourced from developmental programmes run by Yellowwoods Art. Artists under these programmes are enabled with opportunities to earn regular income while spreading awareness of their culture. Currently, Nando's has over 17,000 pieces in their collection displayed in their outlets all over the world! And yes, beacuse of that, every single restaurant is uniquely designed! So next time you're dining at one of Nadod's casas, keep an eye on the art pieces and comment below on which ones caught your eyes!

Yeah yeah, we know you enjoyed how it looks. What about the food?

Now now, hakuna your tatas. Chill. That's part of why you'd want to dine at Nando's. I was told that their peri peri sauce is a sauce to be reckoned with. It is spicy - that was what I was told. But first let's talk about their selection of being fine af - or Fino in Portuguese (I'm talking about the sides of course). There are 3 choices to savour - Spinach for the Popeyes out there, Red Skin Mashed Potatoes with a whole lot of yummies and (in my honest opinion) the one that'll be ordered most, Sweet Potato Chips. These were so good our tabled ordered seconds after we finished our chickens!

New Fino Sides

Ah yes, the chickens. I can't say a lot about the chicken because I'd rather be stuffing my mouth with them. The big challenge for Nando's in Kuching is that their raw stocks has to take an additional 3 to 4 weeks to arrive. The chickens are sourced locally, of course. I'm talking about the peri peri goodness they used to marinate the chicken in. 24 hours marinate, freshly delivered everyday, no frozen makes for tender, fall of the bone, savory, warm and super good!


And the sauce? This depends on person to person but if you're asking for my opinion, it's not as hot as I had anticipated (having once tasted 20 chillies in a sambal that first burned my tongue then turned into a sort of sweet hotness while crying my eyes out and sweating the way away). That said, I enjoyed it very much because it allows me to taste the flavour - hot with a bit of sourness to it. Mind you this is the Extra Hot!

I would really recommend it. If you're able to hold your ground pass the hotness (tissues at ready please), it will turn into a sweet coating on your tongue and allows you to taste everything so much better! But if you's a wuss, there's always the mild and ginger ones for you to enjoy too. But know that you're missing out. Afterall, peri peri chicken is supposed to be hot?

Alrite so we've talked about the looks and feels of Nando's; particularly the one at the Spring Shopping Mall. We've talked about the new sides. We've talked about the chicken. For us that day, we had the Caramel Cheesecake. The best way to enjoy this is to pair it with straight up black coffee because it is deliciously sweet. I can't get over the fact that when it came for the next person sitting next to us, and she enjoyed it bite after bite, I just wanna steal it from her! Dense and thick with cheese between a sweet base and caramel top that glisten with a sheen so good I just can't!

Deliciously sweet 

And when it finally made it's way into my mouth, I die (in South African accent).

Well, there you go. You can take my word for it or better yet, head over to Nando's near you and try it for yourself. 10 out of 10 would dine there again!

Will you help?

"Do you think she's gonna come back?" we were nursing a pot of sakura tea between us. The Japanese restaurant, despite hearing mixed feedback from other friends who patroned the place before was pleasant.

"Nopehh." She purposely added the 'pehh' to make a single syllable word two.

"For Christmas?" I asked again.

"You won't be there beside her." She quipped.

"Maybe she'll call." I said.

"You'd turn blue."

"I wasn't gonna hold my breath." Flustered.

"Yeah you would." I love-hate she knew me so well. It's like she's in my head. "You still have her stuffs?"

I nodded. I had plans to return them over the weekend but there were excuses.

"and... you're still taking care of it?" she nudged the word 'it' a little strong. I knew what she meant. It wasn't our idea to get a pet together, she got it for herself. Never had a chance to disagree because the decision was already made.

"I'm not sure what I should do about it." I honestly don't. Pets need that care and attention from their humans, not just simply feeding. Hers, was especially social. I ended up taking care of it. On one hand, returning it would take the responsibility off of my shoulders; but on the other I know it won't get enough attention in her house.

"Return it. It's not yours to keep. You can't even travel anymore because of it. Speaking of travel, what are you gonna do with the trip? It's in a couple of weeks, right?" Yeah I arranged a trip to the highlands with her on the weekend of her birthday. It was supposed to be a surprise, I'm half glad I haven't told her yet.

"I was gonna cancel the bookings." It was a lovely cottage with a smokehouse - not exactly common in this country. Surrounded by multiple flower gardens: lavenders, tulips, lilies, roses of all colours. There's strawberry farms where you pay a sum and eat all the strawberries. Apples, grapes too. There's even a Time Capsule Museum, I know she would appreciate that because she loves museums!

"while hoping she'd call you up and then you'd have the chance to bring it up in a conversation and she'll be all grateful and would get back with you."

"I really was." She sniggered and emptied her cup. She's starting to get antsy, probably itching for a cigarette. I poured her another cup, the smell of sakura flowers wafting between us.

"Look, you're the nicest, sweetest, most generous, selfless, romantic, heartiest person I know.."

"Thanks you." I raised my cup and drank.

"... but you're also in denial..." I placed my cup, there quarters empty, back on it's tiny mat that serves as a coaster. It looked so cute and well placed. "... which is fine. Denial is the first stage of moving on. You can hope that she'll call you tomorrow, text you the next hour, maybe leave a comment on your Facebook or like one of your Instagram photos..." She looked straight into my eyes. "but she hasn't since when?"

"About a month.." my voice trailed.

"A month. Before the two of you broke up, the only conversation you had with each other was about cats and babies, and that was purely sending each other one video after another."

"Yeah." I couldn't disagree.

"She never asked about how it was doing. She never asked about how you're doing for that matter. She never talked about herself with you since she left. She told just about everyone else about her apartment, her job, her colleagues. Heck she told me about her coffee machine and she couldn't tell you where she lives! No, not couldn't, wouldn't. She made her decision long before she told you. She was just keeping you around for plan B."

I was at loss of words. You'd think if my heart was a china shop she's the bull that ran rampage, but this is her picking up the pieces after. The bull had already left.

"Look, I loved seeing you two together. It's the first time I actually saw you take pride in a relationship - not to say the ones you had were a shame. I just thought you two belonged together."

"It was as real as it could get. For me at least."

"... but like I told you, we're all looking for the next best thing. I say this for your own good, but I really hope she dumped you for another guy, because if she left you for reasons that is who you are right now..."

"I know. Please don't finish that sentence." I've lost or had to gave up so many things. Her leaving was ice on a burnt cake.

"You're gonna get through. You always do. But for now, you just have to give her up and let her go."

"I know..."

"And the first thing you're gonna do is gather up all her stuffs. Every physical thing that could remind you of her. You're gonna pack them nicely, and return it to her. Or at least her brother since she's never coming back."

"Will you help?"

"What do you think, dummy. Of course I'll help. Now can we please move outdoors. I need a puff." She stood abruptly and started to put on her shoes. I couldn't help but smile. What would I do without her.

Me and a Hundred Silenced Group

Well I overexaggerate.. I have 31 WhatsApp group. Yes, THIRTY ONE! I counted once, twice, three times to make sure. Some of you may have less, some of you may have more. I can't speak for you, but me, I've silenced over half of them - for a year. When I do go about clearing the notifications, I would rarely read. I simply tap and hold, and tap clear all messages.

"... why not just leave?"

Because the group was *sceptically* work related, event related etc. etc. I get pop-up notifactions everytime a message in WhatsApp. I would glance to find someone selling something or another, and would simply brush it off.

"... what if there are important bits of information"

... which is directly related to me, people would text me personally or give me a call.

It annoys me most when I get friends promoting one of their products or services. All the "alternatives ways to remove fat, pm me" and "promotion promotion, rm xxx only", I literally clear them off. Yes, even if you're sitting next to me.

Why? The same reason you would toss promotional leaflets into bins. There is NO PERSONAL TOUCH. Fine, you say you're casting the net wide, I'll say throw a good lure and catch a bigger fish.

You say 'help me promote'; then please, word it personally. I would gladly go to my other WhatsApp group and say 'hey, a friend of mine is selling this and this, anyone of you here care to take a look?" IF and ONLY IF you personally ask me 'Hey Rool, could you do me a favor and help me promote this product that I have?'

I'm not saying I'm The Majesty that you have to PERSONALLY ask for favor. If we're friends in the first place, it shouldn't be much of an effort to ask, would it? Add a little compliment here and there, maybe start off with a joke, make me feel like I'm receiveing a message from a friend rather than a text promoting whatever!

You spent so much time typing out the longest wordiest text to promote your product, but took for granted the way you promote them. I'll let you in on a little secret - the best way to promote your product is to get people to ask about it.

"Hey, you know what, I'm starting a book," you say. Any socially competent person, especially a friend would ask you "What book?"

Then you might want to say "Nah but you dont have a child. You might not be interested." That's already telling me that they target audience for the book are parents with children. What age? For boys, for girls? What is it about? I'm getting interested, even if I don't have a child.

After a few exchanges, you say "So yeah. I'm actually selling it for RMxx. Do you mind spreading the word?"

I would definitely say of course! I'll even write a blog about it!