Sunday 29 December 2013


Due to several complicated situations, I had to go to Taiwan, 2 weeks before my wedding. Some asked me whether I was sure about that, since that would be the most crucial time to coordinate the final details of the wedding. Well, not that we had much of a choice, and there were more pressing matters at hand... So Alex and I met up at KLIA on the 30th of November, and together we flew (our first time flying together!) to Taipei!

The MAS aircraft that we got was pretty rundown, much to our dismay. It didn't even have in-flight entertainment! Thank goodness it was only a 5 hour flight and the Nasi Lemak served was pretty good!

After more than 5 years...
I was finally on the Taiwan grounds!

But of course, drama always stuck to us, no matter where we are... And guess what? Alex's luggage was detained at KLIA, back in Malaysia! To cut the story short, we had to make two trips to the airport (took a hired cab, high speed train, bus) to collect his luggage, only to find that it was held because of suspicion of bringing drugs, which happened to be our blocks of Whittaker chocolates from New Zealand @___@

That aside, I was very excited about my stay in Taiwan. Quite nervous and anxious due to some family issues, but mostly just excited to try out the many Taiwanese snacks that I have heard Alex bragged about all the time lol.

So this post aims to make you salivate! I shall spam this entry with the dishes I tried (some for the first time) and still crave for now!

The standard Taiwanese snacks

 Kumara or sweet potatoes sliced, coated and deep fried to perfection, with tangy and sweet plum powder added onto! That quickly became one of my favourites, to the point of mild addiction lol.

Next, we had deep fried 甜不辣 (Alex's favourite) and deep-fried chicken fillet, marinated with honey, powdered with chilli!


This was a real surprise. Who would have known that green tomatoes, dipped into a mixture of sauces and ginger can be so refreshingly addictive!


Mutton soup, topped with slices of ginger - very comforting dish during the chilly weather in winter ;)


Noodles fried in a sweet and tangy sauce with some fresh pieces of eel! You can taste all its freshness!

During our 9-days stay in Taiwan, we had quite a lot of 便当 (taiwanese bento)..

Delicious, convenient, and a good variety to choose from!


This easily became my favourite guilty pleasure! The creamy milky custard, hot and piping in a crispy pastry... ahhhhhhh...

Glorious, glorious, stinky tofu!!!! I used to be scared of this dish, and the smell that comes with it. But I came to realise that it was because I had this dish at the wrong places.

Alex brought me to this small stall by the road that was very close to a school. It was packed with people, taking turns to savour their tofu, consuming the whole dish in mere minutes, and leaving as soon as they could to make place for the rest in line. We waited for close to 20 minutes and it was so worth the wait!


 What is a trip to Taiwan, without some gooey oyster goodness, also famously called as 蛤仔煎???

and I present to you... the most wicked dessert of all..

Shaved ice, with brown sugar syrup, red beans, condensed milk and a whole piece of 统一布丁! So so so good!

But to me, nothing beats traditional dessert...
How about a huge piece of Mochi, prepared by a lady who has been doing this trade for over 30 years, loaded with roasted and grounded peanut and sesame seeds?

I love every bite of it!

There is still so much food that I would like to share with you all. I guess I have to continue in future entries ;)

All these pictures are making me real hungry now. Probably it's high time for me to do my womanly duties and prepare dinner hahahaha..

Till the next entry~
Ciao and God bless :)

Friday 27 December 2013

the wedding preparation fiasco which was quite a lot of fun

So, many of my peers were getting married this year, and many have warned me about turning into a bridezilla. I never thought much about it because most of the time i'm pretty flexible and adapt easily. So did i turned into a scary, panicky anxiety-ridden bride-to-be? I probably did have a meltdown or two, but that's pretty much it lol.

As i probably mentioned quite a bit, it did felt like i was the only one making the wedding happen at times. Alex helped a lot in browsing for information and helping me decide tiny details like the colour of napkins and linens (which i know many grooms probably would not even be bothered by lol), but i guess most of the time i was the one contacting vendors, emailing, confirming, paying, checking out the services, diy-ing decorative items, planning the itinerary and making reservation bookings etc etc... All while teaching in a rural town far away from home or from the wedding venue and dealing with all sort of complicated applications for my VISA, NZQA, certifying my original documents, almost killing the-only-courier-service-in-Gua Musang-that-could-send-my-passports-and-original-documents-to-the-Immigration-office-in-Singapore-yet-managed-to-screw-it-up...

Yup, i had my plate pretty full.

But once i had my pity fest over, i started being grateful .. My parents were more than amazing, sending me to Penang when i needed to, my girlfriends gave me the emotional support that i needed and stepped out to help me with the coordination for the wedding, my fiance (at that time) was my rock and gave me full control of having the wedding the way i'll be happy with (even though i was not a demanding bride and pretty much mellowed down and stopped looking at my pinterest lol)...

And, you just start to get your focus back.
Why do we get married?
To have a glitz and glamour-filled event?
To please everyone?
Or simply to tie the knot with the person you could vision spending your life with, under the blessing of God, family and friends?

It's funny how we tend to complicate things.
So in the end, we went with what we could afford - a small yet intricate wedding, combining the Holy Matrimony, chinese tea ceremony, and a wedding dinner of toast, my last dance with my dad and pictures! It was going to be a joyous celebration for us.
One could say we went far from 'protocols', and went with what matters more.

Here are some pictures of the lil preparation i did for our beautiful day~~~

The simple wedding invitation

(we used the amazingly useful application on to make this postcard invitation. 
Alex chose this picture because it portrayed how we first got together at that bench on Albert Park, Auckland~~)

(the other side of the postcard. Done using google image and meituxiuxiu hahaha)

and then there were the decorations..

which in turn became...

(only personally taken photos at this point.. Still waiting for the professional ones)

Overall, my thoughts are - No one really cares or notices the flowers (we had orchids for the tables and a main flower piece for the main table, a whole lot more picture frames and decor) or the tiny details in the event hahahaha.

True, so really don't have to sweat too much about it. As long as you have some personal input in your happy occasion and everyone had fun, i would call that a pretty successfully conducted event ;)

That's all for now! Be blogging about our venue on the next post! ^_______^

Tuesday 24 December 2013

Review: Macalister Mansion, Penang

Before i begin, i would like to state and emphasise that this is NOT a sponsored post or a derogatory write-up, but written purely based on my personal encounter with the subject. This is to be read as a personal reference and my thoughts should not be taken wholly and generalised to all situations.


When I was in the midst of googling blogs of b2b, reading up bridal reviews and forums, I came across the facebook page of Macalister Mansion and was immediately in love.

How not to be in love when the dining room looks perfect in white with quirky interiors, dreamy and classy!

(photo credits:

(picture taken during our personal visit to MM)
I showed the pictures to Alex and he too liked them so i wasted no time and got in touch with the boutique hotel. The guest service assistant manager got back to me real fast so I was really pleased. We found out that they have 8 uniquely decorated rooms, slightly on the pricey side but we were intrigued to have the whole place to ourselves for an intimate celebration with our closest family and friends. Soon after, emails were exchanged for the menu selection, still a lil on the pricey side but within our budget. At that time, we knew we had to have our wedding done in this place.

Then, it pretty much went downhill.

I was teaching in Kelantan while Alex was far away in New Zealand. It was never easy for me to coordinate details of the wedding so I have to plan many things in advance and use time wisely to carry the priorities out. I took advantage of our May - June school holidays, arranged an appointment and travelled to Penang to check out the place for ourselves with my family, before i had to fly off to New Zealand. To be honest the place felt much smaller than what we expected but we still like all the fine details they have everywhere in the building (from the courtyard to the pools and to the rooms). The person I had been dealing with via emails and whatsapp messages "X" was all smiles and polite while briefing us through the hotel's policy and charges for the dining room. Apparently they do not have wedding packages and their menus are changed from time to time by their chefs, but she gave us the approximate value of different sets of degustation menus i could expect. We were still happy with the service at that time and the options because everything was still within our budget.

After getting the green light from my parents and further discussion with Alex, I wrote to X telling her we decided to go with the 'chicken menu', priced at 120++ per pax for 60 pax and will book all 8 rooms of Macalister Mansion, and asked for a final quotation.

Despite all the prompt responses before this, 4 days went by with NO replies.

Alex and i really didn't appreciate the late response. In fact to him this is not acceptable for a running business. So i sent X a gentle reminder about my requests. This time she replied..

Dear Ms Felicia,
Yes, we can provide you the final quotation based on your selection.  But, as I have mentioned to you earlier, the Dining Room has to be closed for your function and there is a minimum spending you will need to achieve in order to have the Dining Room for your function. The minimum spending is RM12,000 and based on your requirement, it totals up to RM 8630.00. The rooms are not included in this, as it is for the Dining Room only. We normally require 15,000 for weekends but have brought it down to RM12k for your event. Would you like to increase the guests or consider taking up a different menu..?
Please advise us, looking forward to your reply.

I quickly double checked with my parents who went with me to Macalister Mansion and everyone confirmed that X never mentioned about the minimum spending. In fact she was giving us discounts on this and that, which of course led us to wanting to have our wedding in Macalister. Why help us to lower down our expenses only to inform us about the minimum spending later, and wanting us to upgrade our menu and increase our guest list? Plus, throughout ALL my emails with X prior to our visit, I have made it really clear it was a small wedding of 60 guests, and she never once told me it was too small for an event and that they did an event for only 20 guests before this.

Taken aback by this new information, Alex and I discussed more and replied:

Dear X,

The total amount of RM8630 is only for the dinner or inclusive of the free flow fruit punch? If we add extra service in terms of the PA or order more drinks, are those type of expenses included in your dining room 'minimum charges'?

If you recommend us an upgrade of our menu, could you provide one that still serves chicken as the main course? And i would hope to get the answers for my previous questions too.

Let me discuss with my fiance and compare our options, and i will get back to you.


A day later, X replied..

Dear Ms. Felicia,
The amount, RM 8630 includes the free flow fruit punch, but not the P.A system. Would you like to consider getting some Wines, maybe? For your drinker guests. We shall send you the other option for your menu by tomorrow.
Thank you,

And so, we waited for the drinks and "new" menu.

A day passed,


Five days passed and NO menus yet.
By then, I was so tired of waiting on X to reply me. Time was running short for me, I can't get other details confirmed until I have our wedding venue and food sorted! We started to browse for other options and thankfully we came across G Hotel that was also offering packages for small intimate weddings. Their offering was pretty tempting so we started to reconsider..

Alex asked me to send another email to X, so I did..

Dear X,

I'm still waiting for the menu (drinks and dining) which you promised a few days ago. I really do hope that Macalister could provide the information we need as we are in the midst of deciding between Macalister and G Hotel. G Hotel has been providing pretty tempting discounts in terms of the rooms and also offering quite a number of complimentary services. We personally still love the ambiance of Macalister but we do need the information that we had been asking for so that we could make the final decision as soon as we can.

Please advice us on your choices (including final price quotation) for the wedding dinner (to fulfil your RM12k minimum spending), and the final price (including tax) for all the rooms.


We were still very very keen to have Macalister Mansion as our wedding venue and was willing to comply with the minimum spending. Plus, we will be booking all the 8 rooms which will cost us around RM8000! It made no sense for them to go all quiet on us. The only thought that could come to us was - we were not enough business for them! If that was really the case, this is a really bad way of doing business. One shall never discriminate their customers, especially the ones who have been very polite and eager to use your service.

Guess what, the team at Macalister Mansion NEVER got back to us.

After two weeks and still NO reply, it was the last straw for us. I sent them this reply (could be seen as a lil tough but I wasn't exactly pleased with how we were treated).

Dear X,

Regretfully, Alex and I would like to express our disappointment with the follow-up by Macalister thus far. Macalister has always been our first option regardless of the minimum charges and slightly pricier rooms but perhaps our interest in having a wedding dinner of 60 pax with 8 rooms for possibly a night or 2 is not good enough prospect for Macalister, and we have been conveniently ignored for more than 2 weeks.

In New Zealand, we have always valued customer service and efficiency above all else, and we would have preferred to get responses within 48 hours (as expected of a business). Furthermore, our request of wanting to see the drinks menu to make up for the RM12k quota is not exactly an unreasonable request. In fact, you told us you would give us a copy but we've never received it. We did mentioned that we were choosing between G Hotel and Macalister. Judging on their excellent customer service, flexibility and reasonable charges, we would go forth with the former.

I would also add on that we would no longer visit Macalister, nor will we recommend this place to our family and friends, bride-to-bes.

ps. I did checked with my parents who came along with me to see the place on whether you actually mentioned about the minimum charge of RM12000 (which you mentioned has already been discounted for us), and they told me that they too did not hear anything of that. Perhaps it would be better if you do bring that upfront in the future with your other clients.


Not surprisingly, there was NO reply after my email. What do you make up of that situation? Were we just not good enough for them?

As mentioned at the beginning of this entry, this whole recount of event was based solely on our experiences with Macalister Mansion. It was really a beautiful place with great lighting for a small wedding reception, but too bad it didn't work out for us because of the bad follow up and lack of transparency. We found out so many additional costs much later (PA systems, using the courtyard, breakfast for room guests etc etc) and were IGNORED - seriously the worst thing one business should do to their customers.

Anyway, we were really happy with the wedding venue we chose in the end! Will definitely blog about it next time ;)

I have finally married the man i want to spend the days of my life with

It has been 11 days since we sealed this covenant under holy matrimony. And i grew to love this man more each day :)

I would also be blogging more about the whole wedding preparation, give REALLY HONEST reviews of the wedding vendors we came across (just to share with possibly the bride-to-bes out there), and also write PRIVATE posts about the real drama that happened behind the scenes (which will be password protected as those will be entries which i hope to read back as years go by and remember all the challenges we had to face to get to where we are today, close and personal, and maybe to be read by a handful of very close family and friends)

Stay tune! (i guess lol)

PS. This is the first year i'm celebrating christmas with my man despite being together for more than 5 years!!!! Been learning how to cook to feed the man and fingers-crossed that the pork belly dish i'm about to prepare will turn out fine lmao.

Thursday 24 October 2013

Class Parties =D

This is the 3rd year of me teaching here in Gua Musang, Kelantan.

What? It's the 3rd year already???? Just seems like yesterday when I first had my mild meltdown upon knowing about my posting lol.

Anyway, in 3 years, I have seen so many teachers and even administrators go in and out of this school: mainly because our school is a transit school. Located an hour and the half away from Cameron highlands and 3 hours away from Kota Bahru, our district has been known as the 'first entrance' into Kelantan, and only government servants would know HOW TOUGH IT IS TO GET INTO KELANTAN. Yet, by God's will, I (not a Kelantanese), was sent right into this place albeit not having this state in any of my 3 options. Now that i look back and think about it, I wouldn't want it any other way ;)

The cool thing about teaching here is that my admins (we had so many transfers that I was under 2 different principals, 2 senior assistants of administration, 2 senior assistants of students' affairs, 2 senior assistants of co-curriculum, and 3 different Head of English Panel within the 3 years I've been serving here lol) really supported me and allowed me to do just about anything I deemed right! I pretty much had the freedom to experiment with activities and programs, and I have good colleagues and great moments in this school too.

And although in all 3 years I was given the role as a class teacher on top of my many other positions, it is probably my favourite role as a teacher. First of all, you just get to build so much more rapport with your own homeroom kids, develop a team, inculcate values, and even become their 'mum'. I grew the most as a class teacher, having to dealt with disciplinary cases, talk to parents, visit students in hospitals, and to lead your group of students. It is also an exceptionally tiring job, simply because the students here lack exposure and leadership qualities - something I learned to accept and not to criticise. Most of them came from really big family of more than 6 siblings and they do what they are being told at home and in school, to get by their days. With weak role models of non-educated parents or older siblings who did poorly in school, their main concern was only to 'get money', and are contented just doing rubber-tapping, selling in the market and becoming a worker in Econjaya (our only supermarket)... There was no need to step up or to go beyond their expected duties.

My teaching philosophy has always been - 'get real.' I aim to expose my kids to the real world, create lessons with real and authentic examples, and to teach them how to live well in real life. And with so much of me invested into them, I do get rather emotional during our year-end farewell parties.

For 3 years, I was given Form 5 classes as my homeroom class. So for 3 years I dealt with kids anxiously preparing for their SPM and worrying about their future. Therefore, I want to give the students something to remember about their high schooling days, before they go forth into the real complexities of adulthood... And I try to do that through our farewell parties...

In 2011, my very first homeroom class was 5S1..

That was my first year organising a jamuan kelas. I didn't want them to just prepare food, get teachers to eat, they eat, clean up and go back (which is the norm and culture), so I brought along my projector, taught them to create a slideshow, perform, do gifts exchange, make speeches, and wear oogly glasses just to spice things up a lil ;)

Then came 2012. I was class teacher of 5A2. This group of students were unexpectedly weak in their academic, but have the best attitude! I knew it will be hard to get them to perform as a class, so we did a coloured theme party instead. I gave them permission to bring accessories and we had a blast.


Today, 24th October 2013, we just had our #5A2kickassparty !!!
Compared to the previous 2 years, I was actually a lot more involved in this affair.
These kids are a whole lot weaker than the previous lots, to the extent that 1/3 of them are not passing or barely passed their Malay language. Communicating with them was really tough in the beginning as I had never taught them in the previous years, and I don't speak or understand the kelate dialect well.

But they grew on me. Sooner than expected, I was part of their lives, went for meals together, they sent me home (often in an entourage of at least 3 bikes lol), secrets were shared, life-size questions were asked, and as much as they pissed me off sometimes, they are just really good kids.

And out of my previous batches of students, this group lacks thinking skills, but they counter with pro-activeness.
They lack leadership; they counter with great attitude and surreal enthusiasm.
They lack experience and maturity; they counter with willingness to learn.

So imagine my pleasant surprise when I saw this on my table yesterday...
I told them to prepare invitation cards for the teachers who do teach them, and they came out with scented invitations done in an actual printing shop (by forking out their own money!).

I told them to decorate our plain wall (we had a class change to everyone's horror as we had to part with our actual classroom that won first prize for best class decoration to a shabby one), so that we could take better pictures.
They came the afternoon before, sourced their own materials from home, and did this!

I too promptly prepared some props for them to take pictures with~

..many of which are not shown in the picture as the kids got over-excited with the accessories lol.

I too taught my kids the current trend of a 'dessert table'...
and this is their attempt~

Some of the items are homebaked, and there are more hidden underneath the table for later refills lol.

What really caught my surprise was this,
They created a Guestbook Corner.

That big scrapbook / Guestbook was quickly filled with words of encouragement from teachers who came in while the kids occupied the blank pages. And then, everything you see on that table - the photoframes with pictures, and that book, was gifted to me so that I would remember them :')

After a quick snap, the craziness began when the teachers came in huge groups at the same time @_@

The teachers just kept coming... I was actually getting worried as the food was finishing real fast and I really didn't want to starve my kids. Thankfully, being totally understanding, they served the teachers first and when our crowd was slow, only did they go for the food *proud mama*

Our menu of the day included Nasi Kerabu with Ayam Goreng, Nasi Ayam, Laksa Penang, Bakso, Koey Teow Goreng, Satay, Akok, Pudding, Cocktail (kelantanese ver), Colek, lots of agar-agar, cakes, cookies, lollies, crackers etc. (some food not in picture). By the end of the day, I could safely say that we fed about 130 people today lol.

After our last guest, I went straight into our own 5A2 intimate session.
We had speeches, and came the time to reveal our 5A2's Hall of Fame.
A lil backtrack first: During a previous lesson using the Hall of Fame song, I had the students voting for their classmates according to 12 titles. They range from The Hidden Gem, Masterchef, to even characters like The 'Robin Hood' and The 'Donald Trump' lol. After that, I told them that I will only announce the results during our class party.

So, I made the sashes... and their response during the announcement of the winners was plain hilarious!!! We all had a good laugh at the winning speeches too.

Unfortunately, as I was rather busy running around the whole time making sure everything is in place and our guests feel welcomed, these are all the pictures I managed to capture. Other moments worthy of remembrance include our 57 years-old principal wearing a giraffe mask with a pink headband for pictures with my students, I had the confetti bomb 'popped' at me twice, and my kids brought all the food in those huge containers by their bikes!!!

I lost count of how many times have I said 'terima kasih' to my kids. I was just filled with pride throughout the day, hearing praises from teachers and admins about how delicious the food was, how well-mannered my kids were, how 'happy' the atmosphere was. The principal even made an impromptu speech saying that 'Cikgu Felicia ni nok nikah jauh jauh, meme kerugian besor sekola kito dan jejaka kelate.' OH MY GOSH, the laughter and cheers from the teachers and my kids cracked me up so bad lmao. 

I'm just glad everything went well. Of course there were hiccups and lots of spontaneous problem-solving needed.. But today, I just feel really really proud of my kids.