Monday, February 17, 2014

Amsterdam Break

Works at my office were picking up at a very slow pace after Christmas. Sitting around in the office without nothing much to do is very boring to me. It was during this period I received an invite to attend a training organised by regional offices of my company. The training was for 6 days in Amsterdam. Lucky me. I quickly asked my colleague to register for the training and together we raised our application to our boss. It didn't take much time for my boss to approve the application knowing how 'busy' I was at my desk and that the whole trip will be covered by a pool of money chipped in by regional offices. Lucky me.

In fact my colleague and I even took  1 day extra in Amsterdam. I was very excited for this travel mainly for 2 reasons - Europe winter & green stuff...(smile)

On the day of my arrival in Amsterdam I was surprised to see another colleague also joining the trip. She was based in Cairo office but was transferred to Dubai office. So there were 3 representatives from my Dubai office for the Amsterdam training. The more the merrier.

The temperature in Amsterdam was 4 degrees celcius during the day and it dropped to 3 degrees celcius at night. But it was a pleasant weather with 2-3 layers of clothes. The first thing I bought after checking in at Okura Hotel was a 3-days tram ticket. Tram is the best mode of transportation in city of Amsterdam.

My training classes were conducted everyday from 8.30am to 6.30pm. There were many colleagues from Europe and Gulf offices. Everybody seemed to know each other due to their experience of working together for some cross border transactions. The 3 of us from the Dubai office were like the new kids on the block. Actually my Dubai office merged with the new company recently in July 2013 and now we are part of the biggest law firm in the world.

I went out exploring the streets of Amsterdam every night. Most of the time I walk. True to what I have been hearing about this city, everybody commutes by bicycle. There were canals everywhere. And something which I didn't expect was there were many Indonesian restaurants. I can say at every street or corner of the city there was at least one Indonesian restaurant. 

Amsterdam is a proud city of liberal and free. Prostitution and weed are legal here. It was also a home to Rembrandt and Van Gogh and almost all their artworks are displayed in various museums in Amsterdam. The hotel I lived in gave me a map of museums in Amsterdam. I didn't manage to enter all the museums except the Rijk Museum which was reopened in 2013 after almost 3 years of major renovation. Whilst my colleagues went crazy with their shopping during the limited time we had at night, I spent most of my time walking and enjoying sight-seeing the buildings, canals and peoples of Amsterdam. Except paying for or having sex, I did all things which most tourists do in Amsterdam. Beautiful.

Whilst sipping my hot chocolate and eating a hot waffle overlooking a large green park, I thought to myself that peoples are capable of behaving themselves if they are given a choice. Given that prostitution and weed are legal here whilst these are illegal elsewhere, I didn't see these stuffs ruining their life and progression as a society. I am not talking moral or religion here. And when I observed closely the visitors crowding the Red Light District and coffee shops, most of them were tourists.  

I enjoyed very much the winter weather and the green stuff (smile)...It was a good break for me and my colleagues. I heard there will be another training next year somewhere else (smile). I want to come back to Amsterdam but the next time, with my wife and sons.

Some tourists think Amsterdam is a city of sin, but in truth it is a city of freedom. And in freedom most peoples find sin.
John Green

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Happy 2014

Well..well it is quite dusty around here. I realised this blog has been abandoned for a year. Which makes it proper for me now to declare my simple New Year Resolution - I am back to blogging and I will update my blogs if not every day, every week or at least every month.

To be honest I have got tired of FB and recently Whatsapp. At this age, I feel I do not need more information other than what I can see, smell and grab around me and what more I do not want to see miscellaneous pictures of my friends daily life. FB-ing and Whatsapp-ing also diminish my writing skill when most of the time I am just interested to click 'Like' button and write occasional one-liner joke, greeting or compliment.

If not because of my motorcycle activity I have thought of closing my FB and Whatsapp accounts. I have no decision yet and I have a feeling that this annoying feeling towards FB and Whatsapp will keep lingering and bugging me throughout this year.

Anyway I have been concentrating on pumping iron and building up muscle lately. Also I am planning to polish my bass guitar playing and if there is extra money, I am interested to start an audiophile hobby.

On family side, I am currently happily living in Dubai with my wife, 7 year old and 8 months old boys. Alhamdulillah.

"Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other"
Abraham Lincoln

Sunday, November 4, 2012

New Sport

I have been worried about my cholesterol level and thought that I need to go back to the gym and do cardio on running mill. But uric acid is going to ruin my ankle. Somebody suggested cycling and swimming since these activities would be less harmful to joints and bones.

Yesterday I finally got a big push from my biker friend. He bought himself a mountain bike. I wanted to buy a same bicycle. Then suddenly a guy approached me in the Go Sport store. He introduced himself. A fellow Malaysian and he is literally my neighbour in Ghooroob Mirdiff. He asked whether i was interested to buy a bicycle. Apparently he is an avid cyclist. He cycles every week together with his group. What a coincidence.

So the next 4 hours I spent going through my selection of bicycle and its basic accessories with the help of my neighbour. Instead of mountain bike I was advised to get a road bike with sleek tire and lighter body.

So today I am  a proud owner of Giant SCR road bike. There is a lot to learn about cycling and I should study the basic.

My self pride to motivate myself - I have cycled from Kuala Lumpur to Langkawi (approx 400km) in 2002. This body can do it !

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Try to be closer

I have many weaknesses and one of it is my indiscipline attitude towards religious duties. I hope this Iphone app will help in one way or another to drive me towards doing the right thing..PRAY !

Friday, August 10, 2012

Crocs No More

I am a fan of Crocs shoes. I had a long argument with a friend about Crocs shoes. For me it is the most comfortable and tough shoes I have ever used. It is a proven fact since I had walked a lot on Crocs without hurting my feet.

Today I am giving my Crocs a retirement opportunity with a purchase of a new pair of Barjeel sandal. I quite like the Arabic caligraphy on these sandals. I am very impressed with how comfortable this sandal is. I hope it can serves me well same like the Crocs.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Iftar in Ramadan 2012

During Ramadan 2011 I joined a group of 3 friends to cook and dine together for Iftar throughout the month. We had great time enjoying the camaraderie and friendship in preparing our meals.

This year 2012, two of them had left UAE for good including the chef. Only my friend and I left in the old group and we decided to continue with the group Iftar. I took the task as a chef. We keep receiving guests every day which makes Iftar this year memorable similar to last year.

Please excuse my white short..haha

Last weekend, members of my motorcycle club came to my house and showed their skills as chef. The result was very impressive, these guys really can cook. My cooking skills also get improved this year when I start to cook for the group Iftar.

I hope this Ramadan will be the last when I spend it without my family. By next year I hope to enjoy Ramadan with my family. It has been 4 years of spending Ramadan far away from my family and it is not a good feeling at all. Nevertheless I thank God for this life, my family and good friends around me.

Ramadan Kareem !

“The similitude of the heart in its travel to Allah is like a bird. Love is its head and khawf (fear) and rajaa’ (hope) are its wings. When the head and both wings are sound, the bird is capable and skilled in flying. However, when the head is cut off, the bird will die. When the bird loses a wing, it then becomes a target for every hunter and predator. The scholars favoured, however, the wing of khawf over the wing of rajaa’ especially when the person is young and healthy. They favoured the wing of rajaa’ over the wing of khawf when the person is about to leave this world.” 

(Sheikh Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziyyah)
Islamic Jurist

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Farewell 2012

It is almost 4 years for me now of living and working in UAE. When I first accepted the offer to work here I told myself that at least I must do this for 5 years. That period is running so fast that I still dont think that I will be ready to think about going back to Malaysia by next year.

In fact I am arranging to bring my family to live with me in Dubai starting 2013. Naturally this plan would mean I that I need to stay longer in Dubai. Seriously once my family is with me I will not have any issue whatsoever to live and work in UAE until retirement age. I like Dubai and I made many friends here and some of them are considered brothers to me.

However I have many good and close friends who decided to go back to Malaysia for one reason or another.. Some of them have to make the decision because they had no other choice.

This week will be the last week for a good friend of mine. I have a close group of friends with whom I hangaout with almost everyday, mostly during lunch and dinner time. We call our group as Dewan Sendat since the most popular topic we like to talk about are foods and nice restaurants in our cities. Two friends in Dewan Sendat had left early of this year. Now another one is going.

It is a bit of sad news to see friends leaving me in this city although we are heavily connected through blackberry messenger and facebook.

I wish my friend a better career and life in Malaysia. Hopefully he will have his rezeki again in Dubai.


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