Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Review: Birthday at Gold Coast Morib Water Theme Park Resort

This year, I had a quiet birthday, just me and hubby.  Since this year's birthday is also Hari Raya or Eid Mubarak, we get 2 days public holiday.  Altogether it's a 4-day weekend so we thought why not go somewhere, just the 2 of us.

Found that Gold Coast Morib Water Theme Park Resort actually offers a Birthday promotion.  For RM268 (inclusive of taxes), you will get 1 night stay at the Studio Suite which comes with a jacuzzi, 2 dinner vouchers, 2 breakfast vouchers, 2 entrance tickets to the Water Theme Park, a birthday cake, a gift and a certificate of participation.  Since we were both on an adventurous mood but not willing to travel too far (because I am too lazy to drive) and it's my birthday after all, we immediately took up this offer and booked online.

Then read the reviews online and found there were more negatives compare to positives.  Initially I was regretting this choice, then thought since I have already paid, just let it be.

The journey from PJ to Morib is only slightly over 1 hour.  Waze took us to lots of shortcuts through kampung (village) roads and the scenery was very green and traditional, something different from city life.  And to travel into these places on the first day of Hari Raya and watch the Muslim families celebrate in colours and style, really priceless.  That day was particularly hazy and the smell was less desirable.

Upon arrival, first thing we found that the car park inside the resort was full, so we have to park outside.  My first encounter of unpleasantness came when I found an empty parking slot outside and parked.  Another car came and hinted he wants to park next to mine but I took up lots of space.  I saw and agreed and was going to re-park, but he was so impatient and just squeeze his car though that tight spot without waiting and just walked off without saying anything.  

The night before our trip, I was upset about something which was caused my ego and probably the full-moon night did not help me very much.  So, the next day when I was calmed, I told myself I am going to make this trip a great trip, i.e less expectations, lesser disappointments.  Just enjoy and be grateful for this time together.

So first thing I saw was there were not 1 but many unhappy customers.  The check-out queue was so long although these people were just waiting to leave.  The check-in queue was shorter, but one customer just cut my queue and pretended she didn't see me.  I was fine with that.  I was going to have a happy trip, so why be angry and unhappy right from the start.  Instead, she was complaining to her husband, if she knew it is so crowded, she would not have come.  And that is before checking-in.

While queuing, I overheard a man venting his anger at one of the staff.  I can't hear very well what the complaint was about, but basically he was very fed-up of waiting.  Then found out that over the weekend (it was peak period after all), all the rooms were so fully-booked and many customers took their own sweet time to check-out, although the check-out time was 12pm.  So, those waiting to check-in have to wait for their room to be clean and it was a long wait.  Some of the customers came from far and have driven for few hours and to arrive and said rooms were not available.  Hence the disappointment.  By the way, check-in is at 3pm.

All the staff were Malays and Indians, hardly any Chinese.  And they were all dressed in Malay traditional clothes for Hari Raya.  Meanwhile, about 99% of the customers were Chinese.  My first thought was, how wonderful these Malay staff are.  They are sacrificing their Hari Raya to work and to serve the customers.  And how ungrateful these Chinese customers are, to be demanding and feel entitled just because they have paid for the services.  What happened to being considerate?  

After checking into our room, we found that the floor was yet to be clean.  The cleaners were still around and busy mopping and sweeping.  So I called one of them in and they did a great job.  Very detailed.  

Surveying the room, we found that the kettle was faulty with one part of the plug broken and still on the switch, burnt.  Then when trying to open the wardrobe, the door with the mirror almost fell on me as it was dislodged from the slot.  Hubby have to carefully lay it down and lean against the wall.  Further checking found that the safe was faulty too.

Hubby told me to lodge a complaint.  But why make a fuss with these little things when we don't even use them?  But later I did went to the counter to inform them what was faulty, not to get it fixed, just for their information.

So that was the bad part of our room.  But here's the good part.  This scenery greeted us when we drew the curtains.


It was the Water Theme Park.  Looks very inviting and we said we will go the next morning.  From our room on the 6th floor, we can hear the children screaming in glee and shouting their friend's name.  Looks like lots of fun!!!

And this was the bathroom with the jacuzzi.


I kinda like the design, open concept of the toilet.  It has a wooden window that you can open up and watch TV from the jacuzzi.  

We were told that dinner starts at 6pm while breakfast begins at 7am.  And we were also told to go early because there are many people and not enough place to sit and that the food were not top-up.

 At the entrance of the theme park, we saw a family there very unhappy and complaining.  Overheard that the entrance tickets already expired as they already checked-out but the kids didn't have a chance to play because of some waiting and so lots of time were wasted.  Anyhow, the hotel staff said will refund to them something, I don't know what.  Just so many angry people around.

So, after checking in and before dinner, we decided to go take a walk on the beach.  We didn't take any photos because it was not very clean.  The sand was very nice to walk on, but the beach was dirty.  No one bath in the sea.  

So we just did a quick footsoak and then we thought of driving my car back into the hotel so it is nearer.  However, we found there was still no parking available and as we walked near the guard house, we saw a group of guards (all Indians) were very angry.  Later, I approached one of the guard inside the guard house and asked whether I can park inside.  He told me to re-park at 7pm after everyone has left and gone for dinner and said that now the parking is so full that one customer was so angry when the guards didn't let him in and he parked right at the entrance to the hotel, walked off and blocked everyone else's entrance.  Sigh, why is everyone so angry?  What a drama it was.

Found that the parking was so full because the Water Theme Park is not only for hotel guests but also for outsiders.  When the theme park closes at 7pm, then that's when we get more parking spaces

We went in and waited for 6pm for our buffet dinner.  And here, I received my certificate of participation, a gift and a cake.


The staff was very polite and wished me Happy Birthday few times.

Dinner was a spread of Hari Raya goodies, i.e ketupat, lemang, rendang, etc, etc.  I wouldn't say the taste was the best ever, but it was good.  Satisfied and full.

Went back to the room and thought of our next plan of action.  Decided to try foot reflexology on the 10th floor.


It is RM36 for 1 hour session and the masseurs were all PRC from China.  And I must say, they have very good and strong hands.  The session was slightly painful but yet so relaxing.

We had initially wanted to do the Shri Adi Bhoomi Devi puja on the beach, i.e planting 3 coconuts and do short puja to clear the negativities.  This method was taught to us by a Chinese yogi who had tried it in China with very positive results.  But hubby has forgotten some of the steps and we have forgotten to prepare some of the things.  So we can't proceed.  Instead, we sprinkled vibrated rice with turmeric and kumkum along the beach.

After that, the pub / bar place called The Pier which was on stilts on the sea, was opened and there were some entertainment going on, singing, song dedication and all.  If there was no alcohol sold, we would have sat there and enjoyed the sea breeze.  But felt it was too heavy and decided to just go up to our room.

Then it was jacuzzi time.  More relaxation.  Initially, we thought we can just go to bed without another footsoak (since we already did at the sea earlier before dinner), but after the reflexology, felt the vibes were stuck and not able to clear.  So did another footsoak before bed (yes, we brought our own footsoak buckets and salt).  Felt so much better after that.


We read reviews online that there was some kind of smell at night.  True enough, even with our windows all tightly shut, the smell seeps into our room.  On top of the hazy, smoky smell, this smell was familiar and yet pungent.  It was the smell from a nearby oil palm factory.  Years ago, I visited one and boy the smell was so bad.

We woke up early because we heard that breakfast starts at 7am and it is usually packed!  And sure enough, we went down at 7.15am and it was already full!!!  Breakfast was a wide spread.  There was pancake, cereals, salads, nasi dagang, porridge, noodles and dim sum.  Good food.

Then we went to the beach for a short footsoak again and the haze has lessen.  

At 8am, the door to the Water Theme Park opens and we were the first.



It is not a big park and not many rides.  But good enough for us.  We spent 2 hours there, just slides after slides.  Back-to-childhood days ~ Sweet!

Then after that, bath, rest, check-out and that's it!  A fun-filled and relaxing birthday.

Overall here's what I feel:

Pros: Theme park was fun.  Sea is near.  Food was good.  Jacuzzi was relaxing.  Foot reflexology was great.

Cons: Some of the stuff in the room not working.  Pungent smell at night.  Beach is slightly dirty.  

I feel the hotel staffs are doing their best to cope with the lack of staff (probably gone for Hari Raya holidays) and the overflow of customers due to peak period.  The hotel rooms do have some faulty stuff and need maintenance and replacements.  Our rooms didn't have any towels and when I asked the staff who was distributing them whether we can have the towels, he told us to inform the reception.  However, it was already time for us to check-out, so we just forget it.  Phone in the rooms aren't working because some construction still going on.  The pungent night smell is unavoidable.  

And I do feel, if you do want a pleasant stay, first make it one for yourself and others.  Like don't get angry over little things.  The wait is long, but you can go to the beach to relax while waiting.  Don't start your holiday feeling angry and disgruntled.  Why spoil it?

Yes, we feel entitled because we paid.  But we have to understand also.  There are way too many people and lots of screaming kids and tired adults.  Be considerate.  Doesn't mean we have money means we can flaunt it and show off.

I won't say this was a bad stay.  In fact, I learned so much about myself through watching these people.  If you are nice to others, they are nice to you too.  But if you are angry to others, you will feel the anger throughout and spread your anger to others too.  Here's a nice quote from Eckhart Tolle:

"People tend to dwell more on negative things than on good things. So the mind then becomes obsessed with negative things, with judgments, guilt and anxiety produced by thoughts about the future and so on."
This birthday was not like last year, so grand and filled with activities.  This year was quiet and time well-spent and lots of introspection.  Felt close to Divine throughout and lots of vibrations.  A joyful birthday indeed.



Friday, July 18, 2014

Anger Management

Q.: When we get angry, is our anger just our tendency to react like that?
SHRI MATAJI: You see, if you get angry within yourself, and if you are sure that you are not doing anything wrong, for a Sahaja Yogi there is no need to say “outside you are angry.” There’s no need.  That anger itself is a power. And you should do your bandhan and anything that you want to do. But you should not show that you’re angry. You should be absolutely silent, because you can be, you are in the axis; you are not on the periphery. Actually the anger is just to see your anger, and use that anger for that purpose.  And once you start doing that, thatanger will itself work out. That anger will itself work out the person. And you’ll be amazed, how it … But you must learn to see your anger that is working. All these things are important. You have seen that sometimes only shouting at the bhoots they go away, and many mad people have been cured like that. But you don’t do all that, that’s for Me. You must be always decent, with decorum and all that.
But if the anger is because of your nature or a tendency or out of control, then it’s a bad thing. If it is an out of control, then it’s a bad thing. If you get into a temper because it is out of control, then it’s a bad thing.  I can get very angry but I am completely under control. I know why I am angry, where the bhoot is, how he’s running away, I can see that. But you can’t see the bhoot, you can’t see anything. So there is no need for you to get angry, show temper.
But if you have an anger, say for example which makes you uncontrollable, then there is a mantra for that: Shanti. “Ya Devi sarva bhuteshu, Shanti rupena samsthita.” You must ask for that bliss, for that peace.  This is a mantra for you.  For controlling your temper, you have to tell yourself, “Ya Devi sarva bhuteshu, Shanti rupena samsthita.” So Shanti is the point, the axis point is that from where you witness everything. You are in Shanti, you are in complete [peace]. You are not in a turmoil, even if you are angry. You are not in a turmoil. Whatever is angry is the power, and the power is taking charge. But unless and until that is achieved, what you have to do is to put yourself in a position that you are peaceful. So I think that’s a very good mantra is to say, “Ya Devi sarva bhuteshu, Shanti rupena samsthita.” Can you say that?
(The audience recites the mantra)
So the Shanti is your fort. But peacefulness never means cowardice. Never call cowardice as peace. A person who is peaceful is never coward, because nothing can transgress it, nothing can overpower it. It is never, never possible that cowardice and peace can go together. But your power is inside, not outside. So you don’t show your power of your anger outside. But just a little anger with anybody, you will see it will work out. But first establish that position within you where you are the axis, where you do not allow anger to sit on your head. That is the growth. That’s the growth – that you are at peace.
Also, another question? All right? Satisfied now? Both ways you should know – that one is the anger that is detached, is perfectly all right. Anger which involves you, work it out. So judge yourself, as to what it is.

Taken from The Importance of Dedication and Devotion. Nirmala Palace, Nightingale Lane Ashram, London (UK) – 6 August 1982.


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Some of my favourite blog posts

I don't think I have the flair to be a writer, seriously.  But there were times when the vibes were good and I can really write a good post.

Here are some of my favourites:


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Pandan Butter Milk Pau

I have so much of leftover pau flour after the previous experimentation on making paus.  So, decided to venture on a weekend project to make pandan flavoured pau.  After much thought on the pau fillings, decided to make butter milk filling instead.  And you know what, coconut oil goes very well with pandan flavour and smell and extremely delicious with butter milk filling.  No, not kidding.

I got the pau skin recipe from here, Cooking Pleasure by Kimmy.  And I got the fillings recipe from here, Shoonyin Home Cooking.  

I replaced shortening with coconut oil instead and the taste went really well with the pandan smell and taste.   I wanted to try out healthy cooking instead, since shortening is not that great.  The only mistake I made was I've forgotten that I used salted butter, so the pau skin already got salt and with the salted butter in the fillings, in the end the whole pau was quite salty.


My husband did most of the hard work, i.e kneading and rolling.  All I did was measuring the ingredients and assemble everything.

However, the pau skin didn't turn out as soft as it should be and the wrapping of the pau is not as pretty as it should be.  You can't see it in the photos, because it is underneath.  I think when my husband sealed it, he made it pretty thick.  So when you eat it, it feels rubbery and thick.  

Maybe because I used coconut oil instead of shortening.  Maybe also because I didn't prove the dough enough.  Or maybe because I didn't use the Double Action Baking Powder.  Next time I will try Wendy's pau recipe instead.  

But the filling was just nice and yummy.  It is not the wet type with the juice oozing out.  This is the dry, crumble version.  And it is quite easy to make.  However, I do prefer the oozing type.

I didn't know I can actually make this, so I was pretty pleased at the success of this despite the minor flaws.


And I am pretty excited to try out the new recipe soon.  Oh, out of pau flour now.  And oh, now is not a good time to go to baking shops because of the Raya season and so many people are making cakes and cookies and biscuits for sale.  These shops are so over-crowded.


Sunday, July 13, 2014

Easy Lassi

Hot weather like this, what's better than a nice glass or in my case, cup of lassi?  Lassi is a thick yogurt drink.  There's sweet lassi, salted lassi, mango lassi and other fruit lassi. 

It was only when I was in India that I had the best lassi ever.  Plain sweet lassi.


Here's a very simple method to make delicious lassi:

2 cups thick plain yogurt (I used homemade)
1/2 cup of milk
Honey for sweetness.

Just whisk everything together and voila!  Perfect to cool our body down in this extreme hot weather.


Saturday, July 12, 2014

How to make yogurt with EasiYo Yogurt Maker with and without the sachets

Disclaimer:  This is not an advertisement.

First Attempt

After months of not looking paying attention to what I have been putting into my stomach, GERD came back few weeks ago.  Thank God it wasn't that bad.  Just 1 puking session and that's it.

Since then, I have been very careful at the food I am putting into my mouth, looking out for trigger food and what's good for GERD.

Found that actually yogurt is very good for GERD.  So, long story short, I invested in EasiYo Yogurt Maker.

Actually, before that, I was thinking of ways to make my own yogurt.  I did it before and it was successful.  But after reading reviews on EasiYo Yogurt Maker and so many said it's good and easy and the yogurt was super delicious, in the end, I was in.  RM139 with starter pack.


You can find this in selected Carings and Vitacare pharmacy.  I bought mine at Damansara Uptown.

1. First put room temperature water or cold water into the EasiYo yogurt container.  Fill it half way through only.


2. Then open the sachet of yogurt mixture that came with the starter.  You can also buy individual packets at about RM13-RM16 each (yes pricey!).  Add the powder into the water.  Close and shake well.  The yogurt mixture has milk powder, flavouring and the necessary bacteria.


3. Next, fill up the container with water until the line as indicated.


4. Pour boiling hot water into the maker until the top of the red holder.


5. Place the container into the maker carefully.  


6. Close the cover and leave it for 15 hours.


I manage to leave it for 14 hours only as I started at 10.30am and by 12.30am when I opened and checked, here's what I got:


Beautiful and tasty mango flavoured yogurt.  Keep in the fridge to stop the bacteria process. 

Since the sachet is pricey, I am considering trying out using milk powder and a starter.

Second Attempt

Since my 2 starter pack Easiyo sachets used up, one mango and the other lemon, I did some Google and researched and found a way to make Easiyo yogurt without the sachets.  That will save me lots of money as each sachet costs RM19.90.

Here's how to do it:

1. Boil 1 ltr full cream milk until it's heated up but not over-boiled (milk will spill over when it reaches a certain temperature). 
2. Cool the milk down and then put it in the fridge to make it cold.
3. When the milk is cold, pour half out and mix that half with 1/2 cup of milk powder.  Shake well.  What I did was I used the Easiyo container and just poured half milk out and added 1/2 cup milk powder and shaked well.  Like when you use the sachet.
4. For the other half, stir in 3 tablespoons of yogurt starter.
5. Mix all the milk together and give it a good shake / stir.
6. Pour hot water into the Easiyo thermos until the it covers the red barf.
7. Put the Easiyo container with your yogurt mixture inside.
8. Leave for 8 hours.

I got perfect yogurt after that.  The milk is fresh cow milk that I bought from Brickfields.  The starter is actually buttermilk or tairu (in Tamil) also from Brickfields.  The taste is amazing!!!  And the cost is only RM6 for both.

I have saved some yogurt from this batch to do the next.  And next time I will use Amul milk.  Apparently it's the best milk ever.


Tairu is a very water down yogurt.  At first I was worried that the bacteria might have died or too watery to make the yogurt.  I was of course wrong.  When I tasted it, it was very sourish.

After using 3 tbsp of the tairu, I still have lots of it.  What to do with it?  They can only last for a week and that also in the freezer.  So, cucumber raita it is!


Just cut some cucumbers.  Mix the tairu.  Add salt and sugar for taste.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Impact when not meditating properly

- Wake up at 7.45am
- Get ready to work
- Recite Shri Ganesha Atharva Sheersha while driving
- Breakfast in office
- Start work

The above has been my routine for the past few days.  Notice something missing?  Let's continue.

- Boss raised voice unnecessarily
- Boss say stupid things and mocking rudely
- Boss demanding crazy things
- Complained about boss to colleagues during lunch
- Subordinate pretended to be hardworking in front of boss but played games on phone during office hours
- Subordinate had long lunch and always came later to work although stayed nearby
- Subordinate told Boss he will continue whatever he can't finish at home
- Subordinate told me that he could do ALL the work without my help
- Boss insist to share the job with subordinate, saying he can't cope
- Boss say to take up the big portion of the work just because I left at 6pm sharp while the hardworking subordinate left later and work from home

The above has been happening for the past few days as well.

- Stuck in traffic jam to go home
- Dinner
- Wind down
- Start other work
- Quarrels and argument and disagreement with family members
- Meditate simply 
- Sleep at 1am

After seeing this pattern, let's take a look at the usual pattern that supposed to happen:

- Wake up at 7am
- Get ready for work
- Meditate for 10 minutes and recite Shri Ganesha Atharva Sheersha and feel the cool breeze
- Eat breakfast
- Go work

- Boss talked very politely
- Boss say good things
- Boss ask for work to be done nicely
- Chit-chat about family with colleagues during lunch
- Subordinate pretended to be hardworking in front of boss but played games on phone during office hours.  No effect on me.
- Subordinate had long lunch and always came later to work although stayed nearby.  None of my business.
- Subordinate told Boss he will continue whatever he can't finish at home.  Can't be bothered.
- Subordinate told me that he could do ALL the work without my help.  Less work for me better still.
- Boss insist to share the job with subordinate, saying he can't cope.  Sure, why not?
- Boss say to take up the big portion of the work just because I left at 6pm sharp while the hardworking subordinate left later and work from home.  No problem.

- Stuck in traffic jam to go home
- Dinner
- Wind down
- Start other work
- Meditate deeply and clear extensively
- Sleep at 12am

See the difference?

Credit to FreeDigitalPhotos.com

This is what happens when I don't meditate properly in the morning and night.  I noticed that it affects everyone around me.  Some of the things I can't change like people's behaviour.  But I do notice that when both of us meditate properly and do proper clearing, we kinda affect the behaviour and attitude of people around us and spread the vibrations to our surrounding that makes people behave properly, act positively and drop the negatives.  Not only that, even if someone were to behave unreasonably, I have no reaction to it and just witness the drama or I can deal with the matter calmly.

So, when today I hear another round of loud comments and rude remarks from my boss, I just kept quiet because deep inside I knew, I started it.

The perfect pau skin


Finally I have perfected the pau skin.  Thanks to my aunty whose culinary skills is always one of the top in the family.  She has decided to pass on her knowledge to me after finding that I am the only one with interest in cooking and baking.  She said, good to pass on, at least after she is gone, she know that someone has learn the skills.

I made pau earlier.    The skin was very hard and tough.

I don't know what went wrong last time, but here's the perfect pau recipe.  Please bear in mind, that my aunty, being the superb chef, don't always have the actual measurement for everything.  All goes by feelings which I find a little hard because I am really terrible at estimating anything.  So here goes:

The Perfect Pau Recipe and Method

Skin
300g Pau flour (makes 12 paus)
3 tbsp sugar
1 tsp yeast
A little bit of baking powder
Water (don't have actual measurement)
Vegetable shortening (don't have actual measurement)

Filling
Kaya (should be a little bit hard, so keep in the freezer to get that)

Method:
1. Mix the yeast with sugar and add a little bit of water to mix together.

2. Make a well in the flour and pour the yeast mixture into the well.

3. With your hands, combine the flour with the mixture.

4. Knead and add water and vegetable shortening as you go.  The dough should have a smooth texture that doesn't stick to your fingers or break.  As I was kneading the dough, my aunty was adding water and vegetable shortening on and off.  So I really do not know how much was added.  Continue kneading with your palm, not fingers.  Pull and push.  No need to use the roller.  Kneaded for about 10-15 minutes.

5. Some people covered the dough with a wet cloth to let it proof a little more.  My aunty said no need.  Instead, here we cut the dough into smaller pieces.  Ensure each piece is the same size.

6.  Roll and flatten the dough with your hands and put the kaya filling in the center.  Ensure the edges are thinner and the center part where the filling is is thicker.  Be careful not to put too much filling, or else it will leak out later.  If you have a harden kaya, then it's easier to fill.  Close the edges by pinching the sides slowly.

7.  Once you get a ball, put it on the tray (with the opening part downwards) and shape it with your fingers.  Just cover the pau with your palm and with your fingers just move the pau around.  You will get a round shape.

8.  Put the pau onto the baking paper.  We do it the other way round, the opening of the pau is at the bottom so that we can see the smooth pau backside.

9.  Here's the trick.  Once you have line out the pau onto the trays, cover it with a white cotton cloth (aunty used an old t'shirt) and sun it for 45 minutes.  This way, the dough will proof more and will turn into a very smooth surface.  I think this is the trick for the yummy pau skin.  Aunty said, this way the steaming process is shorter.

10.  When ready, you will see the pau has expanded, flatter and rounder.  Put into the wok and steam for 7 minutes.  You might want to cover the wok cover with another cotton cloth so that no water is drop onto the pau while steaming.  

I am not really sure if it is the vegetable shortening that gave the smooth consistency.  Since shortening is not healthy, I am wondering what other ingredients can substitute this.

Am going to try out the butter milk pau again.  Yay!

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