Monday, March 26, 2012

I love you, Beth Cooper by Larry Doyle

Basic plot

Dennis Cooverman, valedictorian  and captain of the debate team of Buffalo Grove High School stood up in front of all his classmates and their relatives to give his graduation speech. He said "I love you, Beth Cooper." The only problem is, Beth Cooper has no idea who he is. proclaiming his undying love for the most popular girl in school was not even the weirdest thing to happen to Dennis that day, but safe to say, things went spiraling out of control from that moment on. Proof that even the most well thought out of plans usually turn out better when you say them in your head instead of into a microphone.

What I liked about this book

Who among us have never wished that we had the guts to say that one thing aloud? Or wonder how different things would have been if only we had taken the chance instead of timidly walking the line. Every young person would have applauded Dennis's bravery/stupidity. Being guilty of having a major high school crush on someone totally out of my league myself, I totally understood the main character's motivations and anguish. Yes, we have all wished we said those words out loud one time or another. So that the Beth Cooper's of the world would finally sit up and take notice. The book humorously tackled the social hierarchy of high school and the complexities of a smart yet socially inept teen enamoured by puppy love.

What I disliked about this book

Mostly, everything after the first chapter. After the actual declaration of love, what ensued was an unbelievable joyride of alcohol, teen sex and vulgar behaviour. Probably a perfect recipe for a coming of age movie starring pimpled nerdy but sweet heroes and hot young cheerleaders (I was told the movie was quite funny). The whole book reminded me of Revenge of the Nerds (an old movie about how nerds managed to get all the cool girls in college). For me, the whole book was basically a guide to what is wrong with western teens today. Except the first part, (well done Dennis for saying it aloud) the first part was okay. PS: If one of the character tells you to Google something, don't. Trust me. It will be something you wish you never knew.

A quote I liked from the book

"No regrets for what we wanted to do but did not, what we wanted to say but could not. And so I say here today the one thing I wish I had said, the one thing I know I will regret if I never say. I love you, Beth Cooper."

Feel free to insert any name up there :)

Rating: 2.5/5

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Day 4: Kampung Gedong

Our last day in Sarawak was spent at my brother's house in Sarawak. Unfortunately there was a water disruption so it was quite an inconvenience considering the fact that there were 4 young kids and 3 suitcases full of sandy clothes. Thankfully my brother had the foresight to keep some water in large basins outside. The kids enjoyed showering outdoors and I managed to rinse most of the sand off our clothes with the minimum amour of water possible.
After breakfast we went to visit all our elderly relatives. My father insists that we do this each time we go back. It is s humbling experience.
Before long, it was time to leave. Goodbye Kampung Gedong ! Goodbye Kuching ! Goodbye Sarawak ! We had a great time. See you soon.

Thanks to my brother and his family for their hospitality. Thank you to my father for arranging (and sponsoring) this amazing holiday.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Day 3: Damai Beach Resort - Kampung Buntal

Our last day by the beach, we woke up to the perfect weather. No rain, no scorching sun. After an awesome buffet breakfast, we hit the sand. The tide was coming in so the waves were quite high. But since we were not there to do any actual swimming, staying just by the water's edge was enough. It was a great experience and everyone had a great time. It was with great reluctance that we said goodbye to Damai Beach Resort.
We stopped off at Kampung Buntal for Friday Prayers and lunch. Lunch was at a quaint little open air restaurant named One Buntal Cafe (next to Serimah Enterprise). The food was simple, unpretentious and quite delicious. Truly kampung style. Their Assam Tenggiri is a must try and the sambal belacan was superb.
We then stopped off at the many roadside stalls to buy salted fish, belacan, terubuk, prawns & Pais. Pais is a local delicacy that looks like otak-otak but is eaten with rice.
Hopefully, one day we'll come back to Damai.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Day 2: Damai Beach Resort

As the rain steadily drizzled outside, we headed for the next destination on our trip, Damai Beach Resort. Located close to the famous mountain Santubong.
The resort was packed but somehow we managed to score a gorgeous chalet a few steps away from the beach. By around 6 pm the weather cleared and everyone hit the beach. And what a beach it was too. Beautiful, pristine, white sands and an amazing view as far as the eyes can see. The kids had a great time splashing in the waves and building castles in the sand.
Dinner was a seafood feast at a well known seafood haven, kampung Buntal. We went to a small place called Restoran Selera Masam Manis. Not much to look at compared to the other bigger seafood places there. It was however the only Malay owned restaurant. Previously I had tried one of the huge Chinese seafood restaurants and really liked the food, so we were hoping that this place can also live up to expectations.
We had steamed terubuk, sweet & sour siakap, buttered prawns, sotong goring tepung and veggies. The sweet & sour fish was absolutely delicious, the steamed one was also very good. I liked the butter prawn too (though no one makes better butter anything than Hj Shahrin Low). The only disappointment was the squid, instead of being crispy coated, it resembled squid fritters (cucur). The price was relatively cheap too, all that (plus drinks) was less than RM 160.
By the time we got home, everyone was knackered and fell straight into bed.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Day 1: Merdeka Palace, Kuching

After arriving at Kuching International Airport as the sun was setting in the horizon, we made our way to Merdeka Palace Hotel & Suites. This is my second stay here. The last was under very different circumstances. My brother and his little family had already checked in prior to our arrival, so we immediately made our way to our 2-bedroom suite high overlooking the Kuching skyline.
The kids were delighted with the spacious rooms and immediately started running everywhere with their cousin. As we were sitting down to take a short breather before heading out for dinner, we were lucky to have a perfect view of an amazing fire-works display.
Dinner though was a bust. It turned out that we had driven straight into throngs of people celebrating the Sea Deity Festival. Roads were closed, cars were lined up by the roadside. So we headed back to the hotel and ordered room service. By the way, the Hainanese Chicken rice here is simply delicious. :)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Jack of all trades Masters of one

I had been anticipating today with such dread and apprehension. All the blood, sweat and tears shed over the past three years rested on the outcome of today. Literally paralyzed with fear (ok, a bit dramatic but I truly was very scared), I yo-yoed through extremes of emotions for the whole week prior to it.
Yes, I was THAT worried about my Masters viva. It may not be a big deal to some and mostly my friends had full confidence in me but for some reason I was unsure of myself.
I was no longer the type of person who believed that everything will be ok. The past couple of years taught me that BAD things really do happen.
Thanks to all my family, friends and loved ones for their never-ending support and unshakable faith and their prayers. Also for dealing with the emotional roller coaster that was me.

Alhamdulillah. I passed my Masters. It wasn't smooth sailing or pretty, no flying colours anywhere to be seen but I passed. Time to get on with life :)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Happy Birthday Hamzah Faheem!

Dear Hamzah,

My beautiful, sweet, funny, joyful, smart, kind, thoughtful baby. There are no words ... I am blessed to be a part of your life.

Love always,



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