Friday, January 27, 2006

Keong Hee Huat Cai, Ang Pow Gia Lai!

Here's wishing all my friends and readers a safe and wonderful Chinese New Year! There probably won't be any update during this festive season till I return to work on 7 Feb 2006...

In case anyone is interested, I can be found at Fitness First Island Plaza during the holidays. My schedule is:

(sorry, cannot remember the time)

Do call the gym at 04-8900390 to confirm the time.

New name, new colour,.... same crap?

"Muse N' Ramblings..." is gone. Today marks a new chapter for me.

Like I said before, this blog is to reflect who I truly am. I'll try to write down most of my aspiration perspiration as I go through this metamorphosis. In between I'll still throw in some toilet crappy stuff just to humour myself.

The blog looks cleaner and brighter too, so this should be a good change from the depressing black.

More perspiration coming up...

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Time to move on

Looking back I can say
It's been a long journey all the way
Never have I ever imagined
That I'll be here considerin'
What the possibilities would be
To let go of what is comfy
To do not the mundane
But to grab hold of what I can attain
Nothing seems to be certain for now
But I still believe this could be the hour
After all that's been said and done
It is now time to move on.

Jan 2006

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Spring cleaning

As it is customary to clean the house before CNY, I'm spring cleaning my blog. First thing I'm cleaning is the list of blogs- far too many blogs have been left unattended and those blogs that have no updates for the last 2 months will be removed(lucky you came back, bobdogz). Also, those I've not been visiting(sorry, too many blogs already) will too be removed.

Second thing to do is to change the colour of the blog. I'm never a fan of black colour background, but I changed it to black in December so that I could add the snow and firework effects. Since the Christmas & New Year celebration is over, and since we're celebrating CNY, I'm "buying" my blog a new colour. Besides, my mommy pantang wearing black for CNY.

Thirdly, it's about time I change the title of this blog. Initially I thought it was a cool idea to sound "serious" with the title Muse N' Ramblings but somehow it doesn't really reflect who I am and what I do. With the help of my "consultant", a new title with a new picture(no more toilet stuff, Jacq) be will unveiled very soon. It will truly reflect my perspiration aspiration.

Other than that, expect the same crap from this blog. When will it happen? I think this Friday will be it, since it's probably another week before I update my blog again.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006


Following yesterday's interview, I found this pic from Lainie.

Somehow it doesn't seem right in this position....


I've done some research on the squatting toilet, and it occurs to me that perhaps Jacq may have been right all this while.

In Japan, the proper position is facing the cistern. Though the toilet may look a bit different from the ones we have here, maybe it's the same method.

Click here for a step-by-step guide.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Shades interviews: NGXM FF Hong Kong

She's not mean but lean. Once you've attended her class, you'll be mesmerised by her moves on stage- PERIOD. Introducing the epitome of group-x passion - BODYSTEP® trainer and new National Group-X Manager for Fitness First Hong Kong Ms Jacqueline Wong.

How are you doing in HK so far? Are the cats happy to see you back for good?
Still settling in both at home and at work. Haven’t finished unpacking yet – had to hunt through boxes the other day to find my wraps for the BODYCOMBAT® launch. Think cats are happy to see me – can’t really tell with cats..but they have been very friendly and snuggly. Either they are happy to see me or they are cold.

Can you confirm what nationality you are? Some people still get confused over this.

Malaysian. Born in Germany, grew up in Malaysia, US and UK and lived over 10 years in Hong Kong but still very much Malaysian at heart.

Penang roots

Do you speak German?
Ja. fliessend. oder fast fliessend

How long were you there?
Was born there and left one year later then returned in 1992 for 1 year as part of university studies. Reading University, UK - German and International Relations, if that's your next questions.

No wonder... but my next question: What did you just say in German?
Fluent, well used to be fluent...hey, how come you don't ask if I'm gay?

Err… coz you’re obviously not. How did you get involved in the fitness industry?
I had always loved Group X and for years I was a front row junkie and would plan my work schedule according to which classes I wanted to attend. I started teaching Group X and personal training in 1997 and freelanced for years. I was approached by Fitness First one month after Ryan and I got married for a GXC position. Originally I was a little hesitant – after all I had plenty of work as a freelancer and had the freedom to set my hours and take off for 3 weeks in the summer. I had just gotten married and had spent the previous 6 months focused (some would say obsessed) on the wedding. Once we returned from our honeymoon I felt a little lost with a lot of extra time on my hands. George, the NGXM at the time clinched the deal by telling me, “come be a GXC, you can plan the club schedule, theme classes, events etc. Hey, it will be like planning your wedding every day!” The rest, as they say is history.

It's generally agreed that your execution of the moves is very sharp, regardless of whichever program you teach. Do you have any dance/martial art experience prior to GX? If not.. what is your secret of success?
Um, no martial arts or dance experience. Guess I'm just a great pretender! Have an overactive imagination plus as instructors we don't ever look in the mirror so I can just pretend I'm Lucy Liu or J Lo.

Was it an easy decision to return to Malaysia as NGXM?
Oh yes. Although I was very comfortable and had made a home in Hong Kong this was an opportunity not to be missed. I had already met some of the GX team and members on previous trips to Malaysia and felt a great urge to return to my roots. Ryan understood that it was important for me to grow and develop as an individual. Despite the initial reservations I knew deep down that this was something I would regret if I didn’t seize the opportunity.

Have you had any bad experiences in M’sia?
None at all. People warned me about petty crime but I was fortunate. My mother had her bag snatched twice during my time in Malaysia. My advice – carry a backpack that weighs as much as you do – a definite deterrent.

What was your most challenging thing for you in Malaysia?
Dealing with bureaucracy. Always had to have someone with me to help me fill in my tax return, passport renewal and mykad application forms. That and the occasional dodgy mamak meal.

What is the thing you miss most about Malaysia?
a. My Group X team. 20 of the most passionate, committed and talented individuals anyone would ever be lucky enough to work with. The people who were my family for 16 months, who kept me sane and made everything fun!
b. The members for being so supportive and who keep the passion for Group X alive!
c. Coffee Bean salmon scramble

Don't you have Coffee Bean in Hong Kong?
No, no Coffee Bean here.

Why, you going to come here and open?

Nah... just thought missing Coffee Bean was weird. Would you be keen for another stint in Malaysia?
Absolutely but I think next time Ryan and the cats will have to come along.

Prior to your stint, you have been staying overseas all this while. What is the most challenging thing for you to work in Malaysia?
Have been doing this all my life so do not know any better. I guess the most challenging thing was finding my way around KL, and getting used to Malaysian English. I foolishly thought I could add “la” at the end of every sentence and I fit in. Lucky someone taught me the subtleties of ‘lor’, ‘ah’, ‘leh’, ‘wor’, ‘meh’, and ‘ma’.

Do you feel people tend to look up to you because you’re a “foreign talent”?
Do they look up to me? I’m only 5 foot 2…and not foreign…maybe a bit strange, but definitely not foreign.

Now that you’re in HK, Are you making the taxi drivers happy or do you have alternative transport system?
Taxi drivers are very happy in Hong Kong once again although I am concerned about how taxi drivers in KL will fare and the overall effect my departure will have on the Malaysian economy. As I work in Tsim Sha Tsui I do take the MTR to get across the harbour and walk a lot more here than I did in KL.

Where do u see yourself in 10 yrs time? Do you think you will settle back in Malaysia?
Would love to settle back in Malaysia if not all year around then some of the year. In 10 years time I hope to be doing what I love doing, surrounded by people I love.

Being a fitness instructor, please give us a sample of your daily cuisine.
You know the saying, some people live to eat and some people eat to live. I am one of those people who normally eats the same thing every day. Breakfast – scrambled eggs on toast. Lunch – sandwich or chicken salad. Pre class snack – yogurt pot or tuna sushi roll. Dinner – usually thai minced chicken with rice and spinach or similar. Oh, and copious amounts of ice tea!

If you are only allowed to teach 1 LM program, what would it be?
Ooh, hard one…toss up between BODYJAM® and BODYBALANCE®.

What do you do in your leisure? In other words, is there life apart from gym?
Like to read gossip magazine, watch sitcoms (attention span too short for movies), read fitness blogs and basically move as little as possible.

How did you and Ryan meet? Was it love at first sight?
We were set up by long term friends of ours over 8 years ago. There was definitely a strong connection between us. I remember our first dates going on until 3am because we had so much to say to each other.

Given that both of you are in the fitness industry, would you try to encourage your children to venture in this industry, when and if you have children?
I believe in the old saying, “Find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life”. As I told the GXCs, “Do what you love, love what you do and the rest will take care of itself”

Any last words? Some wise sayings for us to go "Hmmmm......"?
Oh another funny thought about settling in in Malaysia. It took me a while to get used to squatting loos - always got confused whether to face in or out until someone pointed me in the right direction(figuratively, not literally). Quite confusing, right...don't we look the way we are going?

Once again, thanks for the interview Jacq. Deep stuff indeed- who would've thought that it was so difficult to use the toilets? Hmmmm......

Friday, January 20, 2006

New bikes

Yesterday got a call from Kat informing that Subang Jaya has finally got a couple of new spinning bikes. For years the members there(I'm told) have been asking for new bikes to replace the old Keiser bikes.

The Keiser bikes are currently found in the older gyms like Fitness First Menara Manulife RB, Damansara Uptown, Menara Maxis, and Subang Jaya. The problem with the bikes(as complained by members) is the thumb tension adjustment which are not working properly anymore.

The members in the other gyms have less to complain about since they have the Star Trac V-bikes with click tension system. This, IMHO, is THE bike to use for RPM®.

Anyhow, This is what we've got for Subang Jaya.

Not quite what I was hoping for(V-bike) but still a Star Trac. Out of 20 Keiser bikes, they've only replace 12 of them but surprisingly, last night we only had about 15 members instead of the usual full class. Initially I wanted to let the members ride the new bikes while I take the Keiser. However, I decided that I should ride it once, so to know how the members would feel on it.

Overall everything feels new but somehow the seat and handlebar locks have to be tightened properly, otherwise they will become loose as I cycle. As for the tensionn system, it is similar to the click tension system of the V-bike but there's no clicking sound as you turn the resistence- kind of makes it a bit difficult to gauge how much resistence I've increased.

So far the members are not appreciative of this Spinner Pro and to be honest, I'm not that keen either. Then again, I wasn't comfortable with the Keiser when I first used it... just like everything, have to get used to it-lah.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Mental block

Can't think of anything to blog about today, so might as well do some advertising.

The 2nd interview with an instructor is ready for publishing but I'm holding on till next week. After all, last week we already got Wes Carter. So who's the 2nd person to be interviewed? If you don't know, I'm not telling. If you know, please keep ur mulut close for now.

CNY, speaking of that.... 10 days to go before Penang get infested with outstation vehicles for one whole week. Initially I was planning to drive home on 27 Jan because I thought OCD will be tagging along. Then, I found out that OCD will be driving back either on 25 or 26 Jan. So, it doesn't make sense for me to drive all the way and pay for the stupid petrol and toll. Therefore, I managed to get a Saturday morning bus to Penang. Even with the expected horrendous traffic jam, I should somehow make it home by afternoon.

I've made arrangements with Kim Boey, Group-x coordinator for Fitness First Island Plaza to teach a couple of classes. Interestingly, Wes, Wenisa, Ping and someone's FCI will be there as well for classes. It's a good thing I guess.. the members will have other instructors instead of the usual faces.

Ahh... lunch time.. see ya!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Saturday night annual dinner

Today's just some photos taken last Saturday at my company's annual dinner "Latin Fiesta". Nothing much to elaborate... just know that yours truly won his 2nd "Best Dressed Male Award" in a short span of 3 years. Actually I don't think I was the best dressed person, but I did a darn good job of shaking my bon bon when the MC played Ricky Martin's "Shake Your Bon Bon". It's all about showmanship, chico...

Didn't win anything else... 2 years ago I got 2nd prize in the lucky draw.

Me with Zen

For a moment, I thought David was Phantom of the opera- turns
out he's Antonio Banderas

beauty wave please

Cindy, Tan & Sara

Azmi, Zen and Rick Kee Mah Teen Daniel

Max, Zen & Nicholas

He didn't quite hit his sales target last year

Initially wanted to blog about the food but changed my mind because:

1) This is not supposed to be a food blog

2) The food sucked. For those who are planning to have annual dinners, weddings, conferences, etc... If you want to impress your guests, please do not have it at Grand Plaza Parkroyal KL.

Guess the company is not doing well. Just look at the list of hotels and how we have "downgraded" our annual dinner.
2003 - Palace of the Golden Horses
2004 - Sunway Resort Hotel
2005 - Le Meridian
2006 - Grand Plaza Parkroyal

What's next? Kedai mamak?

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

This is a personal ad

I've fallen on hard times. Please help.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Go Shanghai no need passport

Dunno why but my blog is going through a "food" phase.... Yesterday gf and I were invited to dine at J W Marriot's Shanghai Restaurant by Chen, a Fitness First Cheras Leisure Mall member. Apparently he's got a YTL card with 8000 points to spend and he's decided to have this small gathering of BODYCOMBAT ® enthusiasts.

That's Chen on the right

Fellow FF Cheras members

They've just upgraded to passport membership to stalk me

It's kinda of heartening that Chen and the rest of them to consider me as one of their FCIs. Besides me, also invited were fellow Cheras Leisure Mall FCI Eugene and Michelle.

The food was okay but the fellowship was fun. It's nice to be able to talk about the funny things we do in class- mostly combat related. I've managed to learn from Eugene a new phrase to use in class called "Iron Sand Palm"....

Fish & spring rolls

Beautiful fresh shrimps


Hopefully, this wil be the last of my food entries for a while...

Friday, January 13, 2006

Don't cha... wanna eat them?

Had lor bak for lunch yesterday. Though it's not the best I've had(still have to go back to Penang for that) but it'll do for now. Didn't order that much since I can't possibly eat everything they have- it's kinda pricey here anyway.

Lor Bak was the dessert, of course. So what's the main meal?

Nasi Lemak with Rendang Chicken.

Sometimes I wish I could be in Sydney still, but the food here is just too good to forego!

Back to normal blogging. Now that I've cleared my BODYATTACK® assessment, here comes another problem of getting to actually teach a class. Right now, I'm quite tied up with 5 RPM®, 4 BODYCOMBAT® and 2 BODYPUMP®. Ideally I would like to drop 2 RPM® and 1 BODYCOMBAT® and replace them with either (a) 2 BODYATTACK and 1 BODYPUMP or (b) 2 BODYPUMP and 1 BODYATTACK.

Any changing the classes, however, will have to wait till the next quarter I guess. I've already committed to Herny that I will be teaching the Wed RPM in Fitness First Damansara Uptown till March but from time to time I will try to sneak into Cheras Leisure Mall to teach BODYATTACK® with FAI and Eric on Saturdays.

Well, at least I get to teach BODYATTACK® in Fitness First Island Plaza during my CNY break...

Thursday, January 12, 2006

My lunch, my lunch, my lunch, my lunch.. check it out!!

*Good news of the moment: I've been cleared to teach BODYATTACK®. After working hard for the last 6 days, I'm relieved it went well, though I thought I was better on Tuesday in Cheras- just a bit nervous yesterday. Now the next thing to do is to continue to practise on my own to improve my technique and also be ready to take a class should the opportunity arise.

Today's blog is for a certain individual who misses the local hawker food. Yesterday I had some of the best hawker food around and I've taken a couple of pictures just for you.

There are 2 usual places I go for lunch: Sec 14 & Paramount... but I tend to favour Paramount because it is slightly easier to get a parking lot. So, it was back to the ever popular O&S for assam laksa & koay teow t'ng.

Yes, normally if I go there it will be double for me, and usually I would start with koay teow t'ng but somehow the laksa came first.

After walloping the delicious laksa, I moved to koay teow t'ng.

This is a genuine Penang koay teow t'ng- the hawker left Penang at a very young age to study here and that was some 30 years ago.

Finally, for dessert, I had a Thai coconut. Not as good as the ones I ate in Bangkok but good enough for now :)

Sorry but there's no lor bak there, but fret not... I'll go to the opposite Millienium kopitiam afterwards for that.

Finally, here's a video we could all learn from..

How NOT to start a match

Watch Video

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Shades interviews Les Mills Master Trainer(1)

*After yesterday's BODYATTACK® in Fitness First Cheras Leisure Mall, I am ready for tonight. By the way, this Monday we'll have Tim Field, the National Group-X of Fitness First Thailand conducting a BODYATTACK® Masterclass in FF Menara Axis at 7.25pm!!!

He's strong, he's tough and he's one mean riding machine. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you...... Les Mills BODYPUMP® & RPM® Trainer MR. WES CARTER.

Let’s get this important thing over with... Are you gay?
A straight and true path I walk.

Where are you originally from? Most people would think that you are from Australia.
WC: Most people think that I am from the land down under due to 6 mth sin sunny brizzy(in English:6 months in the sunshine capital of Oz, Brisbane), but actually from a market town in the centre of England, a place called Market Harborough.

How to get there

How did you get involved in the fitness industry?
WC: All started with work experience as a 16 yr old, haven’t looked back since. Covered most jobs on the gym side of a Club, and now more so in terms of GX.

Which do you like more: BODYPUMP or RPM?
WC: That’s a tough one, a hard one to choose. At the moment I am really missing pump, but also really enjoying RPM… Too hard, it’s a dead heat.

Wes once got lost in the museum when he was small...

How long have you been in Malaysia?
WC: Just over 4 years.

S:I remember feeling a bit out of place when I went to Uni in Australia. So how was it for you when you first came over to Malaysia?
Took a while to get used to the Malaysian way of doing things, but after that not really. Had spent 4 ½ yrs growing in Singapore as a teenager so not so weird..

What is the most challenging thing for you to work in a foreign country?
WC: Culture differences, work ethics. Was from a very full on working environment took me a while to get used to Malaysian time keeping and Malaysia Boleh…

Have you had any bad experiences in M’sia?
WC: Can honestly say have been relatively lucky, only had one filing a police report for a car prang… 4 hours on a Sunday afternoon.. Wouldn’t say bad but definitely an experience.

Do you feel people tend to look up to you because you’re a foreign talent?
WC: That’s the first time somebody’s called me a talent!.. I don’t know about look up to, but may be benched marked, not something I fink about really. Just do what I like to do to the best of my ability.

Being a causasian, and a fitness conscious one at that, please give us a sample of your daily cuisine.
WC: Day normally starts of with either a bowl of Cereal (muesli or Weetabix)or 3 or 4 slices of Toast with Peanut butter or Jam and a glass of Cordeal. Lunch is normally a Sandwich( Chicken or tuna w Salad). I’ll have a mid afternoon/ pre class snack which can range from Chocolate to fruit or a muffin. Then for dinner Pasta or rice, something easy to throw together..depends on who gets home 1st.

Which character trait are you? sanguine, phlegmatic, choleric or melancholic?
WC: I can change trait with the wind, depends on the situation.. I’m not the sort of person who can sit back and be trod on, then again I’m not always the 1st person to put their hand up… Quiet and reserved perhaps…

Do you think people find it hard to understand you because of your accent?
WC: Do have a few problems on occasion, have too remind myself to slow down and annunciate properly.

Do people get most of your jokes?
WC: A big definite…… No, some do some don’t. I think those that have been abroad for a time generally get my sense of humor, then again not many people do.

What do you do in your leisure? In other words, is there life apart from gym?
WC: Like to read, catch movies and spend time with my significant other.

What’s the last book you read? Any good?
last book i read was a Clive Cussler, it was so good can't remember it's name, was good tho..

Clive Cussler

Don't you just hate the way they censor the movies here! What movie
you're looking forward to this year?
MI-3, Some times the censorship does spoil a movie, a little too over the top.

What do you think of shades? You think he's "yummy"?
Consider I said i followed the straight and true path i am not going to answer the yummy part of that q. Otherwise my dear shades I find you grounded, a cool sense of humor, caring, dashing what more can i say!!!!

That's all for now. My thanks to Wes for making himself available to answer some intriguing questions. Stay tuned for more...

Monday, January 09, 2006

Pasar Malam

Saturday's BODYATTACK® went quite okay, though I messed up the first part of the class- then again, I haven't learnt the first 4 tracks yet. My priority is still tracks 6- 9 but yesterday managed to spend some time watching the DVD again. So tomorrow I should be more prepared when I teach with Barney. Teaching with Jackson was fun and he was fantastic- for now, he's my FAI(Favourite Attack Instructor).

Sunday evening- if it doesn't rain- you'll probably find me here.

No, not the art & creative programme, but the road.

This is where the pasar malam is. The nice thing about staying in Menjalara is you have 4 nights of pasar malam per week, all located closeby. So, yesterday I was there again.

Just like any other pasar malam, it is a great place to eat out.

The crowd

By 6 plus, the place was already very busy

I was there way before 6pm. So, I loitered around waiting for him to come. Then I got a bit hungry and had a piece of fried chicken and laksa.

Who's he that I'm waiting for? I shall dub him FSS(Favourite Soya Seller).

FSS sells the cheapest soya and bean curd. Taste wise, it's quite good too. So I bought one for myself and another for OCD. It was still quite early and since I was still thinking of eating a bit more, I continued to walk around.

The alarm clock was on constantly... I pity the nearby hawkers

stuffed idiots Cute soft toys on sale

Finally I decided to "ta pao" char koay kak from this lady.

There are quite a good variety of things to buy here. You can get food, fruits, snacks, clothes, fake CD, VCD & DVD, etc.

Maybe should the jelly one of these days...

Though it's nice to walk there and buy food, I don't know why so many beggars are sitting right in the middle of the road- some even with children.*sigh*

By the I got home it was 7pm, and I totally missed The Simpson! Not to worry, at least I got my RM2 jumbo size soya...