Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Finally found the name of the bird which have made its residence in our backyard! The Olive-backed Sunbird is a species of sunbirds commonly found in Southern Asia and Australia.

Also known as the Yellow-bellied Sunbird, I found it fascinating to learn that it is the female that works to build the nest while the male "supervises".

Even found a video to back this up! The female has a relatively dull colour (though still bright yellow) compared to the male which sports a dark metallic blue-black upper breast.

It's almost like a hummingbird in its size and the way it flaps its wings.

I understood a bit better why they chose the shaded are of a residential area as we, humans, or rather our presence are supposedly able to scare off their natural predators.

I find it quite a delight to have something so cute and alive so nearby. Since we haven't had pets before, I've been looking forward to seeing the progress of the birds and their little ones. So it's been a treat that there are days I get to work from home - this is what I get to hear every morning.

Giving credit to the original owners of the videos above since I don't have a videocam and tripod to capture these - Thanks! :) P/s : I did try to post a note on the youtube links, but there were some errors... :(

Thursday, February 23, 2012

birds of the air

Sometime late January, a bird started building a nest at the back of our house. We had seen this happening previously, but it was just above the outdoor kitchen, so we decided it was not in the best interests of the bird (and our food!)

Not sure if it was the same bird, or even species, the same happened again. It picked the clothes peg as a base. Every day it would fly back and forth, bringing with it tiny pieces of twigs or dry leaves. There are other unidentifiable materials which looked like fur, bark and granules; bits from nature I'm sure.

My mum had wanted to dislodge the nest again, as it was occupying the clothes line. Which she did; carefully covering the fledgling nest with a plastic bag and putting it aside. A few days after that, another nest sprung up on the next clothes line!

I thought, this bird must be really resilient. We decided not to disturb this one; pity the bird which must be really needing a place of rest under the shades of our back garden.

My mum even attached the earlier nest next to the new one, carefully not to let her hand give away any hint of human activity. We decided to pull a new clothesline and moved the nest further out so that both parties would have their own space.

Soon, the nest grew, surely and steadily. During those times when I was working from home, I took the opportunity to just stand still and observe the bird build the nest. I was so engrossed I didn't even remember taking pictures of the initial construction!

Just a few weeks ago, I noticed the bird had already started occupying the nest in the evening. It has a bulbous curve at the back, with seemingly plenty of space inside for the yellow-breasted bird I can't name.

Whenever I'm out washing the dishes in the evening, I'd steal a peek at the bird, with just the head sticking out of the nest. It's the only time I get to look at the bird at such a close range so still, too bad it's too dark to take a proper picture.

For a few weeks, I wondered when the bird would start to lay eggs. To my surprise this week I heard tiny chirps and saw little beaks sticking out of the nest! Even before I saw the eggs, they had already hatched and now the little babies are already out.

It's amazing seeing the beauty of God's creation slowly unfolding like that. When I look at how seemingly simple life is for these birds, I can't help but thank God that He cares about the details of my seemingly complicated life too.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

windy city p6

This is half a year overdue, but since I was clearing files from my HTC, thought I might as well share these out before I forget!

While I was in the US, I didn't have much time to update my blog. The week of training (and working) meant the remaining time was left for sleeping. The very little time in between the trip to NY was me trying to fix the spoilt keyboard. So rather than look at it as one miserable time in my first trip to North America, I thank God for the opportunity :)

Took CX for the KUL-HKG-ORD leg, enjoyed the variety of food served and inflight facilities. I had a good time flying them the first time I visited Hong Kong, so I chose CX over MH. Later turned out I couldn't claim mileage, so maybe I should have supported our national airline instead!

Brought Kitty along for the trip. My aim was to photograph Kitty in foreign places.

Transiting at the San Francisco airport, had to walk quite a bit. Some parts led out to the open air carpark, and the chilly crisp weather reminded me very much of when I first stepped into Narita. Think it's the four-season-country air!

Arrived at the O'Hare airport quite early, and was greeted with a colourful lineup of various country flags. Everyone looked so big here! I was getting quite excited I had finally arrived in a new country, with people who are almost double or triple my size and whose mannerisms I've observed mainly from TV.

Thank God for cousin MF who resides in nearby Schaumburg with her partner. They visited me at the training centre (we call it school), brought me to my first meal... Chinese!

I was curious as to how Chinese would the Chinese food here be. I'd safely say, it's good to try once, and only once! We ordered 3 dishes, and all had carrot, broccoli and celery - the chicken dish, the vege dish and the soup dish.

They even had fortune cookies at the end of the meal, how cute.

So this is the police car I've seen on TV.

Since I had "lost" my luggage, I had to go shopping. Not the pleasurable kind mind you, but to get basic necessities. Saw this interesting car plate while waiting for the bus to bring us back to the school.

Night view of the block where I stayed for the week. Even though it was the beginning of summer, it still felt quite chilly. I had the same jacket on for the whole week as the one I wore on the plane for the whole journey.

Day view of the same block. It's really nice here with the school used to be a country club of sorts, so there were plenty of greenery and well-tended lawns. I wish I could have spent longer here to enjoy the lovely weather!

Out of all the things that stuck with me was not the training (...shhh!), but the abundance of glorious food all.the.time! They feed you really well here, with 2 cafeterias serving main dishes, food stations near the classrooms and plenty of snacks all around. These cheese are so unique, so I savoured every bite.

They change the water every single day! This was the 3rd day, and it was filled with pineapple. Left a tinge of sweetness on the lips.

At one of the cafeterias, they even arrange for takeaway packs in case you'd like to eat in your rooms or elsewhere. There's always a good variety of delicious food, I couldn't resist stuffing myself with the sinfully delicious bacon for breakfast every morning! Too bad I only gained prolly 1-2 kg.

You can never get enough of the food, and you can take as much as you want. I kept the chips to bring home so that I could share with my cousin and family. It's like having edible souvenirs.

Spring/summer is really a great time because it's not too cold nor too hot. There's plenty of sun which makes for bright colours outside, and enough wind to balance the temperature. I would have loved to cycle around the school or indulge in some of the sports they were doing after classes.

My team members in the case study challenge. There were probably about 60 teams altogether, with fellow colleagues from all over the world. Most of them were Europeans, found them very matured and quite outspoken.

I found out later that the limo is quite an affordable means of transportation. Piled in together at the back, you can share costs quite reasonably. There would be a few of these waiting at the entrance for those who'd like to explore outside.

The water on the 4th day was melon-flavoured. I found this quite creative and visually enticing!

Snacks galore in the afternoon. Every time we had a break in between classes, we'd go out and bring more food back to the table. My then project supervisor did "warn" me about the food!

Sometimes they have pastries, sometimes bread, sometimes popcorn. Also, biscuits and fruits and cheeses.

During the networking evening, they turned the conference hall into a big dining hall complete with casino-style games. Some of them would later go on to the Cadillac Ranch for more drinks.

The water on the last day was mint-flavoured.

Cousin MF came to pick me up after the training ended. I brought her for a little tour of the school, which was also my first time walking around.

Hearing so much of Taco Bell on TV, I had to give it a try.

MF's partner was vegetarian, so we ordered a meatless pizza. Didn't know Subway do pizzas!

Saw a nice arts & crafts shop which was filled with all these pretty things. No wonder they're into scrapbook making! If not for the need to keep my $ for replenishing clothes, I might have indulged a little more in these. :)

Apparently Chipotle is also another favourite there. I followed them and ordered the burrito bowl. Quite huge servings. I love trying out new food and flavours, but I'd still prefer my food warm.

In a way I was glad I didn't stay too long there, I'm not sure if I was getting sick of too much fast food, or that I was missing warm spicy oily Malaysian food >.<

Quite an amusing ad, spotted at the airport.

Friday, February 17, 2012


I've never heard of this brand until Ms Barbie introduced me to it. She has been wearing Superdry for some time, and I don't think I would ever have given it even a second glance if not for the price of one of these!

I was left filling a little silly not having heard about it while I was in Japan. It had all these Japanese characters and seemed to be of good quality. So perhaps I don't know all the brands, but if it was that famous, surely I must have at least glanced at it at one point of my stay in Japan.

I almost wanted to send these pictures to Yuri to verify, then found out that this was actually a British uber brand, inspired from Japan. While doing a quick search, found they have quite an extensive range online too.

Apparently Superdry has gotten such a cult following among Brit celebs due to its winning mix of vintage Americana style and Japanese-influenced designs that even Becks was seen wearing one of these Osaka T-shirts.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

small world after all

The world is indeed a small place. Either that or, we're more connected to each other than we realise.

I was invited to my client counterpart's team dinner during the long weekend after CNY. Now I have rolled off this client account, but he has since regarded me as a friend, and not just a consultant on the project.

I did insist that it would be quite strange to join his team dinner, even though he did mention before that he has always wanted to host one at his place. After having settled his wife and kids in the country, he made good on his promise and sent an invite out.

It was quite a mix of ethnicity and nationalities eating and mingling that balmy afternoon. Having been a foreigner myself, I can appreciate the joy of labour that goes into hosting a party for friends.

While catching up with his team, some whom I've also regarded as friends since I've been on that company even longer than them, I found out that one team member's wife used to be my uni-mate!

After bringing up various points of commonalities, we realised we were classmates back in our Engineering degree days. Now she's married and have just given birth to a baby girl. Naturally I asked how they met, both seemed to be quite in sync when they said "Arranged, unfortunately!"

*  *  *

A week after that home-cooked Pakistani lunch, I found out that I could possibly be working with a former recruiter on an upcoming project. She was previously from the same client account, but has since moved on to another MNC.

Even though we've only briefly worked together for some parts of the project, I was surprised to hear her being quite chatty and open about the current situation of the company. Well, if I were to get into this account, I'd have an ally instead of someone who's never worked with consultants before.

*  *  *

Also during the same week, I had a call from an e-commerce company seemingly on an aggressive recruitment drive. After doing a quick search, found out that a former analyst have joined that company. Such a stroke of blessing (I try not to believe in luck!), we kinda got reunited at another former analyst's wedding over the weekend.

Naturally, I told her about what I found out, and she gave me a quick rundown of the company profile and how it compared with my current company. Interesting insights, especially when it involved some German managers whose ways of working are quite different from us Asians.

Interesting how the bits and pieces that seemed to have left us can find their way back to our lives.