Thursday, July 29, 2010

One Going on Two

Wonderful One to Terrific Two

After 17 days of Khalish being a Terrific Two, eventually, a little journal on him:

Playground has been a twice-a-day affair for Khalish and ball is a must-have toy in the late afternoon, when the bigger boys are around to play futsal. Yes, monkeys see, monkeys do phase. On rainy days, I would humour Khalish's request to kick the ball to and fro between us at home, with me perched between the guest bedroom and the kitchen, and, him stood on guard at the house entrance. Inspired by the recent Herbalife Sports Sponsorship for FC Barcelona and Lionel Messi, as well as the World Cup season, I named the football persona in my son 'Khalionel Messi'.

Khalish, like other children, are active indeed. The staircase still fascinates him like the first time he discovered it. With our supervision, Kamal and I let him ascend and descend the stairs, as a fun exercise for the three of us. He would not do so without any supervising adults. However, one fine day, knowing that his daddy was upstairs, he scampered his way from the kitchen to the stairs with a food container in one hand and a ladle in another, all the while babbling in loop, "nak naik atas; nak bagi daddy makan; nak naik atas; nak bagi daddy makan." Simply any excuse to use the stairs, eh.

His imagination at play might be unpredictable, but, his daily routines are not. Khalish's day starts around 8:00 a.m. as he wakes up and asks for his shake. Yes, he calls the formula 'shake', seeing how the adults shake the bottle. After the morning bath is breakfast. Wholemeal bread or potato bun or cereal with soy milk. Then, the playground. Back at home, he plays with the indoor toys. New additions to his favoured toys: Play Doh and an alphabet puzzle by Melissa & Doug. Before playing, he himself switches on the television for Playhouse Disney, particularly for Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and the occasional Ceria, as he loves Tom Tom Bak, Geng Bas Sekolah, and even Hagemaru. That explains his mischief, I would love to think, heh. Lunch, as well as dinner, consist of brown rice, mixed vegetables, and either fish or beancurd or tempe, presented in various ways. Sometimes, pasta. He does not prefer chicken. After a bath and another round of shake, he naps. In the late afternoon, he can be found at the playground again.

Evening bath after early dinner, before Maghrib. Then, shake time. It is followed by indoor games with Playhouse Disney in the background. So, he alternates between playing with the toys with prancing to the tunes on the television. Often sweaty, he would need another bath, albeit a brief one, before bedtime. While he drinks his shake, I read or simply narrate a story to him until he reaches dreamland. An interesting note for the parents: he definitely loves books now, even insisting to lug one to his bath tub. Thank God for bath book invention.

Khalish is slowly morphing into a geek actually. As mentioned, he finds books appealing now, thanks to a trick I chanced upon. Introduce him to an illustrated book on nursery rhymes first, and, being facilitator for a number of junior english camps in the past, I perfectly understand the benefits of nursery rhymes. And again, like children nowadays, gadgets are second nature to him. Khalish's most requested items: games on iPhone and YouTube on computer. Then, there are the never ending wonders of blocks and puzzles, which reveal his meticulous trait. Now, he loves to draw. No resemblance to the real objects yet except for a drawing of astro dish, somehow, but, Kamal and I do notice the passion in his effort. In fact, he is slowly unveiling his artistic alter ego, turning a bubble gun to an imaginary camera, dancing to the slightest tune on the television, and, singing on his own while playing with the blocks and the puzzles.

Have I mentioned how a pregnant me was selected as the best music conductor among a large group of individuals in a game where we needed to conduct an illusory orchestra with our eyes closed - simply move to the music with our instinct? Must be Khalish's latent talent. While it is not as amusing as discovering a prodigy, it is entertaining enough to the parents. Heh.

Oh, he loves water most of all. While in Kelantan, Kamal promptly suggested that the three of us go to Tok Bali beach for an evening walk. Sighting the sea, Khalish was simultaneously anxious and excited. Anxious because of the foreign concept of waves, excited because of the seemingly endless water. He ended up wet from waist to toe. I look forward to a longer beach escapade with Khalish during which he can enjoy the sand and sea all day long.

Alhamdulillah, Kamal and I are blesssed with a beautiful son. Of course, there have been imperfections such as his hesitance to share toys with total strangers and the inclination to hurt those who took his toys without his will, but, we are trying our best to educate him accordingly. For now, I have to stop for he has a request. "Mommy, nyanyi row, row, row your boat!"

Monday, July 19, 2010


July 12, 2010. Carl turned 2.
July 19, 2010. Chech turned 29.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

An Evening in Tok Bali, Impromptu

Family Matters

The news reached Kamal on June 24, 2010. Ayoh was in critical illness, hospitalised at Hospital Raja Perempuan Zainab II. That morning, Kamal, Khalish, the maid, and I went to Kelantan. So did my parents. Leaving Khalish with the maid in Ketereh, we then proceeded to the hospital with Mok. For the night, Kamal's eldest sister and her eldest daughter accompanied Ayoh in his ward. According to Mok, he appeared way better then as compared to that dawn he was rushed to the hospital's emergency unit.

All of Kamal's siblings and their respective spouses were in Kelantan. We took turns to accompany Ayoh all the while he was warded. Kamal and I were thankful that the maid cared for Khalish like her own grandson when the two of us spent the nights at the hospital. The whole experience was humbling. I pray that my brothers and I are able to care for our parents if there is any need to, just like Kamal's siblings did to Ayoh and Mok. I admire the unity.

By June 28, 2010, the medical specialists in charge of Ayoh's case declared that Ayoh was fit enough to go back home. By then, Khalish had repeatedly asked "Mok, mana Ayoh?". We extended our stay in Ketereh by another day so that Khalish could play with Ayoh.

On our way back to Bandar Baru Bangi, Kamal shared with me his gratitude for the decision to work on his own, or else, we would not be able to be with our parents when it mattered most. For now, since that decision, Kamal has been able to visit his parents every month. Writing this, I miss my family. My parents and my five brothers.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Water World Weekend

Half of The Ketereh Clan were in Bandar Baru Bangi three weeks ago. Before proceeding to Melaka, my nephews and nieces extended an invitation for a water world weekend to Kamal, Khalish, and I. It has been ages since Kamal and I brought Khalish to a water outing, so we immediately said yes.
Khalish clung to his daddy the first time he stepped into the Kids' Adventure Pool at A'Famosa Water World, Melaka. However, seconds afterwards, he was wet from head to toe. As for me, in the haste of packing for three, I overlooked my own swimming suit, and therefore appointed myself as the photographer of the day. The cold water was too tempting for such a hot day though. After the delicious provided lunch, I joined Kamal, Khalish, and the rest of Ketereh Clan Juniors at the Wave Pool.
Later, we soaked ourselves silly at the Family Raft Ride. All of us vowed to have another water world outing. Preferably, on a week day. Oh, enjoy the feel-good photos:


Back in Rembau, while Khalish raved about the elephants and pony at the Water World exit, Kamal and I indulged in durian from my parents' backyard orchard. What a perfect weekend.

Singapore, Post Extravaganza

Singapore for all 30 of us, post Extravaganza 2010, was limited from the moment we checked out of our hotel to the time set for departure by the bus driver. To maximise our time at the hotel though, we organised a group exercise despite a rainy, sleepy morning. The breakfast smoothie energised us, yes.
By the way, initially, the whole party was comprised of 31 Herbalife Independent Distributors. My brother needed to work on Monday though. Therefore, he went back to Malaysia earlier.
Our chartered bus stopped at Triple One Somerset, a new tower housing Herbalife Singapore headquarters. From there, each of us went our own way. Kamal and I decided to tag along Fadzil, Zashua, Bakar, and Liza to Lucky Plaza. On the way there, we chanced upon fellow Herbalife distributors, including Bapa Rivai and Ibu Lin, Executive President's Team Members from Indonesia. Amiable couple.
At Lucky Plaza, we drooled over the gadgets. We managed to behave though. I only got myself a perfume. One that I have always wanted for it bears my initial, 'CH'. Then, we bumped into my parents and assisted them with their bargain.
Lunch was at Ayam Penyet Ria. Prior to lunch, we stopped by a nutrition club co-owned by Mandy and her business partners. There, we exchanged testimonies with distributors from Vietnam, thanks to a new friend, Tiffany, who translated for us and her Vietnamese friends. Ayam Penyet Ria, meanwhile, was full with fellow distributors from Malaysia and Indonesia.
We were back at Triple One Somerset earlier than the promised time. Kamal and I decided to scour for Ben and Jerry's Cookies n' Cream at Fair Price, a once-in-a-blue-moon indulgence. It has been eons since we have anything full cream. Another favourite was Japanese bento.

While waiting for the bus to move, we befriended a distributor from Australia who happened to be at Triple One Somerset outdoor foyer. She was such a spirited soul. We also exchanged brief greetings with distributors from Papua New Guinea, shortly before the bus moved.

On the way to the second link, Kamal and I shared the Ben and Jerry's with our fellow travellers, our family members. We look forward to travelling together for the next Herbalife major international event. With all of them.

Extravaganza 2010 Finale

Herbalife, and how it syncs with our spiritual life and family life; and the whole of our Herbalife team is family to Kamal and I.
Thank you, Suzie, Fadzil, Bakar and Liza, Daniel, and, in spirit, Zarina, Ayah and Mak, Uncle Mat, Helmi, Azhan and Rose, Husham, Hasnul, Kak Zauyah and son, Faris, Zul, Shidi, and the rest of the team who were at Extravaganza 2010 with us.
We love you.

Extravaganza 2010 Part IV

Spiritual life, family life, and Herbalife. Three things that matter to me the most now. So, number three priority for today: I present you the final part of a Herbalife event Kamal and I have waited for:
May 16, 2010. Sunday. The final day of Extravaganza. Again, early breakfast. While sipping the breakfast smoothies, my parents shared with Kamal and I about their experience qualifying for and attending the previous evening's Blue Hawaii Party at the legendary Azzura Beach Club on Sentosa Island.
Then, similar routines to the previous day's for the rest of the morning. At Singapore Expo, we queued at our respective entrances and once the VIP qualifiers were inside the hall, they secured seats for the whole party. As soon as the general qualifiers filled the secured seats, Kamal and I roamed the venue for more photo opportunities.
I was particularly inspired by mothers who brought their children, thus photos of, and with them. These mothers might not be able to attend the training sessions, but they were able to listen to the translations through radios while simultaneously managing the children. I look forward to spending my time with Khalish at a major Herbalife training to be held during Aidilfitri.
Outside the hall, we also befriended distributors from various countries. Not only we shot photos with them, we exchanged testimonies and products as well. Kamal and I swapped Formula 1 Cappuccino, which is only available in Malaysia among Asia Pacific countries, with Formula 1 Mango from India, Formula 1 Dutch Chocolate with different packaging as compared to the one in Malaysia from Indonesia, Formula 1 Wild Berry, also from Indonesia, Kids' Strawberry Shake from Taiwan, and lastly, the most sought-after Formula 1 Cookies n' Cream, also from Taiwan.

We only entered the hall again when we heard Tina Turner's spirited You're Simply The Best, a song universally used in major Herbalife events to mark the beginning of a session. The morning training was commenced with the new Herbalife anthem, 'We Are Here', and its dance routines. Fun. It was followed by more excitement as top achievers and a host of Chairman's Club Members shared their successful business practices. Up until the afternoon break.
After my usual Formula 1 with Formula 3 shake lunch, I walked to the other side of the hall. There, I witnessed a President's Team Member from Taiwan preparing her shake lunch in re-sealable plastic. She used a straw to enjoy the dissolved formulae. So, no shaker cup? No problem. Some simply scooped Formula 1 powder into their mouths and drank water later, just like how a number of people chew Milo powder. Of course, Formula 1 is healthier.
After lunch hour, two exuberant Chairman's Club Members took over the stage to announce the winners of Asia Pacific's Got Talents! True to its cause, the competition successfully raised USD75,000 for Herbalife Family Foundation. The results? Malaysia was the second runner-up. Congratulations to Fadzil, Liza, and Zashua. First runner-up went to Korea, while the crowd's favourite soprano and violin sensation from the Philippines grabbed the first prize. All the talents were electrifying indeed.
The training continued with more presentations on various topics and recognitions for Mark Hughes Bonus Award recipients from Asia Pacific region. Nearing the last one hour, I realised that I had reached the second last page of the Moleskin I dedicated to Herbalife events. My pen was running out of ink, too. That was how inspiring the sharing sessions were. Yes, we recorded the sessions in audio version as well, using our MP3 players. As focused were 18,000 audiences in the hall, including those seated at the disabled area. Kamal and I had the honour to know a fellow distributor from Kuala Lumpur who carried along his braille machine to write the notes.
I saved the last page for the special guest speaker, Dan Waldron, Chairman's Club Member from Dallas, Texas, U.S.A. He is truly the product of the products as he has been managing his weight and health with Herbalife basic Formula 1 and Formula 3 shakes, as well as other supplements, for 27 years. That explained the six packs at an age considered veteran in Malaysia.

His successful weight and health management has encouraged thousands of people to do the same. Because of the greater awareness, he has grown from a furniture repairman who earned USD7.50 per hour to a multi-millionaire. More importantly though was the personal growth, he affirmed. Now, he is always grateful with a lifestyle that allows him to prioritise his family. A standing ovation.

Extravaganza 2010 was concluded by Chairman's Club Members from Korea, Tae Ho Kim and Hyun Mo Koo, also fondly known as The Kims in Herbalife circle. They were true to Herbalife spirit - fun, simple, magical - as they opened their session with a delightful dance. At Asia Pacific Herbalife University 2009, they addressed the audience in Korean. One year later, they shared more of their success stories in English. No limit to self development.
In fact, The Kims were deep in debt from their defunct dairy business when they were introduced to Herbalife. With their own successful weight and health management with Herbalife, they decided to focus on spreading the mission for nutrition. The wealth came in consequence. This couple, who have been with each other for 41 years, touched hearts with their perseverance and passion. Not to mention the humility.
My most sacred moment there? The whole time my parents hugged me, as we, in unison, with the rest of our Herbalife family at Extravaganza 2010, sang 'We are here, we are strong, finally found where we belong; Herbalife, round the world; come together, we are one.'

Friday, July 02, 2010

Extravaganza 2010 Part III

May 15, 2010. Saturday. Super early start. My parents, Kamal, and I had our aloe drink, tea mix, and shake as early as 4:30 a.m. My travel blender was stationed at my parents' room throughout our stay just because my father, in my opinion, made the best smoothie in the universe. He even prepared breakfast smoothies for my brother and his friend, Uncle Mat.
By 6:30 a.m., the whole of Suzie and Fadzil's Extravaganza 2010 party made our way to Singapore Expo. At the venue, the general qualifiers joined the long queue at their designated entrances. Daniel, Kamal, and I queued at GET Entrance. Also a long queue, but way shorter than the one at General Entrance. The better queue was at the Millionaire Team Entrance. The best was the VIP Entrance, and my parents qualified. So was my brother, at the last minute. Other VIP qualifiers in our party then were Suzie, Fadzil, Bakar and Liza, and Azhan and Ros. The ultimate best entrance would be the one meant for President's Team Members and the Chairman's Club Members, of course.
Being VIP qualifiers meant earlier entrance and the ability to secure good seats for the rest of the party. Once the GET Team Members entered the hall after the Millionaire Team Members, Daniel and Kamal helped the VIP qualifiers to guard the seats while waiting for the general qualifiers. I roamed the hall for photo opportunities. Once all of our team members were inside the hall, Kamal and the fellow old boys from Koleq actually gave me one of the best photo opportunities as they spiritedly performed their Bung Wak cheer.
Prior to the training, the hall buzzed with activities. The hyped crowd sang and danced along to the DJ's mixes, flags of 13 countries formed a choreography, international distributors swapped products not available in their respective countries and formed new camaraderie in the process, and everybody simply had fun. Imagine the energy of 18,000 people, united by the mission for nutrition.

The Extravaganza training commenced at 10:00 a.m. and ended at 6:00 p.m. Within those 8 hours, the audience was kept excited by:

The success stories, both on health and wealth, presented by the experienced Herbalife Independent Distributors comprising of the President's Team Members and the Chairman's Club Members.

The business growth in Asia Pacific and its potential for the next decade as presented by the Chairman and CEO of Herbalife himself, which was also acknowledged by credible economy watchers, as shown through the video presentations.

The insight of how powerful Herbalife nutrition is, as presented by Dr. David Heber, Chairman of Herbalife's Scientific Advisory Board and Medical Advisory Board, as well as the director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of California, Los Angeles.

The recognition of new GET Team Members, new Millionaire Team Members, new President's Team Members, and a new Chairman's Club Member.

The presentations were well translated to English, as well as other languages representing all walks of nationalities. Nevertheless, even without the translations, all of us shared one language. The Herbalanguage: the true passion and excitement of all the speakers, the testament of the powerful Herbalife products, as proven by the health and business results.

During the afternoon break, I prepared basic Formula 1 and Formula 3 shakes for lunch while Kamal exchanged testimonies with distributors from other countries. Basic shake, yes. One serving only requires 300ml water, four level scoops of Formula 1, and one level scoop of Formula 3. Low in calories but high in nutrition. The new young distributors in our party commented on the high concentration and energy level of the audience, thanks to the nutritious shakes taken for breakfast and lunch, and as snacks throughout the training, with those in weight-gain programme taking the shakes as desserts after their regular colourful meals.

As the training continued, there were more powerful presentations. I personally admired, and still do, Arlene Balangue, a former Accounting Professor at a university in the Philippines, who does Herbalife full time now. Her motivations are the health she gained, the flexible time for her husband and children, and her ability to help other Filipinos, particularly the women, acquire financial independence. At 51 years old, she runs full marathon and cycles as a hobby (refer the top right photo above, for her health and fitness transformation).

Herbalife Asia Pacific Extravaganza 2010 also paid tribute to the late Jim Rohn. He met Herbalife founder, Mark Hughes, in the early 1980s, and personally motivated him, and consequently other Herbalife independent distributors worldwide to find success beyond the self-imposed limits. Truly, truly inspiring.

As inspiring was, of course, more presentations by the special guest speaker, Dan Waldron, Chairman's Club Member. More on his presentations in Part IV. Soon.

Extravaganza 2010 Part II

May 14, 2010. Friday. First day of Herbalife Asia Pacific Extravaganza 2010. Events for the day that involved a number of us: Leadership Meeting and World Team Training. As for Kamal and I, after six months in Herbalife business, we qualified to a level termed Global Expansion Team (GET Team), thanks to our senior business partners' guidance. That meant, we qualified for our very first Leadership Meeting.
As usual, the whole group decided to be at Singapore Expo early. A good decision. Once there, we were greeted by thousands of international Herbalife Independent Distributors from 13 countries. Those who did not qualify for the meeting and training camped outside the halls and listened to the presentations through translations channeled by radio. Surely nobody would not want to miss the extraordinary special guest speakers: Michael O. Johnson, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Herbalife, who won the 2005 MarketWatch Readers' Choice CEO of the Year Award, and Dan Waldron, a Chairman's Club Member, who has been consuming and doing Herbalife for 27 years. Truly inspiring how Mr. Waldron changed his life from a furniture repairer who earned USD7.50 an hour to being a multi-millionaire. Now, he has changed others' life through the business, just like he did to himself. More importantly, he is at his best health and has inspired his otherwise ailing parents to improve their health quality as well.

All of us stayed at the venue until evening. Following a provided dinner was Asia Pacific's Got Talent, a competition among the distributors for the benefit of Herbalife Family Foundation. Malaysia was presented by our team leader himself, Fadzil, and two other fellow dancers, Fadzil's sister, Liza, and Zashua. They paid tribute to Michael Jackson with a medley dance performance. Great review from the judges, which consisted of the Chairman's Club Members and Ace Young, American Idol Season 5 finalist, who wrote, produced, and sang Herbalife new anthem, We are Here. Other talents featured were mesmerizing, too. My favourites: Philippines' soprano talent, accompanied by violin; Taiwan's giant portrait sketch of Jim Rohn, accompanied by traditional contemporary live music; and India's Elvis' impersonation.
At the end of the evening, while waiting for our bus, we socialised with fellow distributors from other countries. Amazingly, Kamal and I chanced upon a distributor from India whom we met at Herbalife Taiwan headquarters last year. More excitement the next day.