Sunday, October 31, 2010

My 23rd Birthday...

When I was young, I've always felt that birthdays need to be celebrated with a LOuD bang; lots of friends & family members invited, a specially ordered birthday cake, a well-decorated venue, heaps of presents, tons of good food and lots of fun & games!

Now that I’m no longer a kid, I’ve come to realize that the most important thing to have on a Birthday is the LOVE & TIME spent with the ones whom are dear; something precious that no amount of money can ever buy.

And so this year, I told my mother that I didn't need cake nor presents at all. A jolly good time and a simple good dinner was all I wanted.

But my mother wouldn't settle for a cake-less Birthday. And the first time in all my twenty-three years, she decided to bake me a Birthday CUPCAKE!

Okay, why cupcake?

Because her colleague baked her some cupcakes a while back and she said it was delicious, so she wanted to make me one for my birthday... ONE BIG CUPCAKE that's twenty-two centimetres in diameter - Wouldn't we call that a “CAKE”...? Her colleague and I tried to tell her that, but she insisted she wanted to “bake a big cupcake” for me... (I was touched deep inside nevertheless).

Although I bake, but my mother doesn't really; or should I say... Seldom.

Ironically, she was the one who had introduced baking to my sisters and me when she baked us a cheese cake over a decade ago. It tasted delicious, and it was her cheese cake then that sparked-off my passion for baking afterthat.

On the morning of 20th October, my mother sat by my bed and awoke me with her Birthday Greeting and Kiss. She snuck under covers beside me and we talked about our schedule for the day... (Sweetness was what I felt)

She needed to go get ingredients for baking, and even though I had just fallen asleep not too long ago (after staying up for a whole night to upload all my photos from my Bintan Trip on my Facebook & to update my blog); I DO want to spend as much time as I can with her too!

I got out of bed, brushed my teeth, changed and we headed out. By the time we got home, she quickly started measuring, sifting, and beating... All by herself. I simply stood by her side; watching her all the time and took pictures!

After baking, she packed the cake in a box and we carried it out to our next program for the day; singing! My mother loves to sing too, so I decided to do something that the both of us would really enjoy and brought her to K-Suite @ Orchard Parade Hotel; whereby AMDG & I always hang-out whenever we feel like singing.

It was my mother's first time there and she was totally in awe of the place!

With such a BIG comfy Sofa-Bed...

Touch-Screen Monitor...

Two wide LCD Screens...

In-house Blankets & Slippers...

Cordless Microphones...

Desktop Computer to surf the web...

And an area within the room to play Video Games...

it is simply overwhelming!

On top of that...

I recommended the Black Pepper Sausage Tortillas to my mother...

And she absolutely enjoyed it so much...

That she ATE ALMOST ALL the Tortilla slices!

And besides the delicious Tortilla and the big jug of Iced Honey Lemon...

We also shared a slice of Chocolate Fudge Cake, which was a sweet gesture from the Captain of K-Suite;

Wishing me A Happy Birthday...

Seol, Thank You so much for the cake and your warm hospitality...


While I was singing with my mother, another surprise awaited me... Rena called to inform that someone had delivered a gift that was for me to the office and since she was heading to town for an appointment later in the day, she kindly met up with me to pass the gift.

I met Rena at the lobby of Orchard Parade Hotel and saw that she was holding a triangular box of flowers with a purple-wrapped box. I got closer and as she handed it to me, I couldn't take my eyes off the flowers... It was so dainty and sweet! I never knew that Roses, Carnations and Daisies made such a marvellous combination. The baby pinks and white had a soft, endearing effect, relating the senders' care and blessings...

Thank you so much for your flowers and gift Sky...

if you are reading this, I just want you to know I really like it...!!!

Never in a million years would I expect anyone to have my birthday gift delivered to AMDG's Office... It was a wonderful surprise indeed for me!


The day ended with dinner in Watami Restaurant at The Central.

My little sister and her best friend joined us as soon as they had knocked off from work and together; we tucked into the Japanese cuisine...

Tempura, Salmon, Scallop, Tofu, Skewers, Hotplates... Etc...

We ate till we were almost full, because we all wanted to leave space for my mother's home-baked cupcake!

Like I had mentioned...

The only thing my mother had baked was Cheese Cake and that was a very loOoong time ago...

Her big cupcake didn't turn out as neatly-made or as delicious as a patissiere would have made it, but it was definitely one that's made with full of love that warms my heart deep...

And it was depicted by a colourful heart-shaped design on the aqua-blue frosted cupcake - There, in the middle of my mother's loving heart... Was a sweet, little sugar-candied girl.

My mother's entire effort in making this cake synchronized with the words that are in her Birthday Card for me...

Specially to my Princess Kasandra...

I want you to know
That I love you
Every bit as much today
As the day you were born.
And though I may not
Hold you in my arms
The way I did then,
I always hold you safely
In my thoughts
And in my heart.

Happy Birthday


(Click To Enlarge...)

Though it is widely known and believed that all parents love their children (and vice versa), once in a while, all humans need to be reminded of how important and loved we are, because it's  only human to forget and think otherwise... Receiving a simple card that pens the feelings of love, means a lot to me ... This is already the best present I can have.

Thank You... Mummy Dearest!

For Giving Me This Special Day To Celebrate,
For The Loving Cake You've Baked,
For The Enjoyable Time We've Spent Together,
For Always Selflessly Sacrificing For My Wants,
For Always Patiently Putting Up With My Ways,
For Always Magnanimously Forgiving My Wrongdoings,
And For Having Me In Your Thoughts & Heart,
Forever & Always...

I Love You, Mummy...

And Not Forgetting This "Cheeky" Birthday Card
Given To Me By My Beloved Little Sis...

(Click To Enlarge...)

The One Whom I Adore Dearly & Quietly;
With All My Heart...

She'll Always Be My Little Sis
The One That I'm Glad
To Have Around,

And I Love Her Much.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

My Retreat @ Banyu Biru Villa

It all began when AMDG Office called up & said, “Hi Kasandra… Mr. Eric See (Who advises, formulates & strategizes all Training & Development Programs for all Artistes & Talents in AMDG; who is also my Grandmentor) suggested sending you and Rena (My Artiste & Talent Manager) to Bintan for a week of retreat to recharge & revitalize and perhaps, along the way, may trigger more new refreshing inspiration for your 2nd book... Thus, the date was set on 3rd October 2010.

Trigger more new refreshing inspiration…? Sounds great!” I literally yelled out loud!

You know… A teaching my GrandMentor once taught me has become my sole principle when writing... “See With Your Mind & Listen With Your Heart.” Therefore, if you happen to see me staring into space or the ceiling that looks like I’m day dreaming, be it in a cafe, the library or anywhere else, please excuse me... because my plots always envisage in my mind first. At times, I listen to a range of music for inspirations... But when I’m down to work, churning my manuscripts, New Age music always puts me in the mood.

However, they don't come up with a phrase like “Writer's Block” for no rhyme or reason... and I’m no exception to it. It's stressful when your mind's a blank, despite thinking hard about it all day and nothing comes up or when you absolutely can't put to words your ideas. It really sucks to be stuck. On top of that, a deadline counts down every second, every minute, every day...

Thankfully, I have a Management & Representation Firm that really takes the interest and well-being of their Artistes to heart; AMDG – who organized this Retreat for me to take a break and charge up my brain cells!

Destination: BINTAN…!

(And Rena did a great job by pulling GrandMentor; Mr. Eric See along… Because he never intended to come along AFTER suggesting to AMDG to pack us there – His presence always make a difference, really! Having him around is like having an aura of protection & inspiration shield around whoever is with him… Those who know him personally will understand what I mean.)

We grouped up at the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal, got our boarding passes and made our way up the Wan Sendari  Vessel...

Upon touching Bintan grounds, we proceeded to Nirwana Gardens to checked in for our Banyu Biru Villa.

There, we met our very first friend in Bintan...

The heart-warming, cheerful, courteous and friendly; Refnaldi (A.K.A. Al) who greeted us at the entrance (together with the group of performers who put up a welcoming ethnic dance for all arriving guests).

Not only was Refnaldi helpful with our luggages, but every day when we saw him in the lobby of Nirwana Gardens, he would wave and smile at us happily and ask about our programmes for the day. He even gave us suggestions on the things we could do and the places we could go to on this beautiful island. Throughout our whole stay there, he’s like our personal Concierge Cum Personal Guide… And he’s very sensitive to our needs & wants, everyday!

In fact, in our entire stay on this retreat, the staffs working in Bintan were amazingly smiley and hospitable towards us... Their impeccable service attitude certainly made my retreat a very enjoyable one... Hence, I made lots of friends along the way! (Anything that’s organized & hosted by AMDG… It always seems that there’s magic in the air… We always get that extra touch of great services… I wonder why!)

There was once when we missed the shuttle bus, Refnaldi was kind to personally buggy us (without us even asking...) all the way to the Kelong Restaurant and even gave us a personal tour to all the nearby good spots around the island before arriving at our destination... That was how we got to see the mini zoo, with Elephants, Snakes, Eagle & so forth.

When we finally got to the KelongRoy welcomed us in, and Maya settled us down; with Yanti taking our order and Ijo (pronounced as “E-jo”) served our dishes.

They were all simply nice people beyond words of description...

They were very respectful to all of us, this which I personally never experienced before when I first came here many years ago with my own group of friends - It’s just different, as if I had been to two different islands…

I guess their service has peaked-up superbly high over the years; and even the security guards around the island were wonderfully cheerful, nice & helpful toward us!

We also got to know the Banyu Biru Villa Supervisor; Dwi when he first came to introduce himself to Mr. Eric See - This guy is humble, nice and really cares for his guests. He asked about our stay in the Villa and personally offered to help us with ANYTHING we (may) need.

Dwi was one of the many kind souls who kindly gave us a buggy ride whenever we needed one... Complimentary!

Even the Security Guards at the Banyu Biru Villa entrance were wonderfully warm too... No matter how many times we went in and out, Rodot and Kunto (The Day & Night guard) would always smile and wave at us, raising the security-bar as we greeted each other.

Dino Bistro, being the most convenient place to dine at Nirwana Gardens; was usually packed but it was a good place to have High-Tea as they serve a range of cakes, cookies and bread, together with a line of exotic tea.

The first time I met Harry, he asked me if I was a model... I felt a little embarrassed & got tongue-tied; and Rena, my Artiste & Talent Manger stepped in to answer on my behalf.

After Harry asked me that question, I became consciously aware that the staffs & diners in Dino Bistro were watching us every now & then, in a subtle way - It's pretty intimidating actually... but we still managed to properly enjoy our meal, and I must say that the ambience & view were simply great!

We usually lunch at Makan Makan – which is similar to a Food Court actually – where it sat atop a hill that overlooked a field of outdoor activity, and a wide horizon along a stretch of beach.

And just outside the entrance to Makan Makan is a balcony of seating area where you can just admire the scenic view, below and above; and in the day and night respectively.

Even Rena & Mr. Eric See who couldn't get enough of all the twinkling stars above – just laid back on the chair and stared into the night sky... Every night!

Ut Chok, a chef at the Indonesian stall gave some recommendations on what we might like to have; not only at his stall, but at all the others as well... Thoughtful & considerate indeed.

Although the menu doesn't seem appetizing; but the food is really delicious!

I liked the Seafood Bee Hoon so much that I ate the same dish throughout my stay there! It didn't need to be eaten at a luxurious restaurant, cooked by a famous chef or with top-notch ingredients for me to love it as long as I’m enjoying my meal. And it's not just me... My GrandMentor loves the Belacan Chili from the Indonesian Stall so much that every meal at Makan Makan, Ut Chok would generously give him portion after portion!

Beautiful night’s spots where you can feel not only the breeze; but also hear the hypnotic call of the sea; is the open-space called NBC Restaurant - The large, cool blue neon counter gave the entire white-painted wooden furniture a wave of calm...

Evi (pronounced as “A-vi”); the waitress there would always flash her bright smile when she sees us coming. She was so sweet and her out-going personality just made me want to talk to her so much more!

And know what I found out? She has the same horoscope as me and we wished each other a belated and advanced Happy Birthday respectively! My very first Birthday greeting, from a stranger... yet somehow feels so much more from a dear friend... Evi, thank you...!

From place to place, we would ride the shuttle bus or buggy and every time we passed by this particular place, it'll definitely catch my attention, especially at night where it stood out in the dark.

The warm dim lightings that lit up the place, made the blood red drapes hanging down from the ceiling so luring, which gives an ambience of class and luxury... And when we want to chill out at night, I’ll immediately suggest this particular beach house... There can be no other better setting for a chill-out than Baan Aarya Thai Restaurant and Bar!

Here, I met a very soft-spoken and gentle Suriati, who was always very polite & gracious. The first time we met, she came up to me & said, “You are so pretty…” (I was taken aback with that sudden sweet gesture actually) - But Suriati, did you know that your smile is as blossoming as the Morning Glory if nobody told you that before… I mean it - And Hendri, was always sweet & kind to ask his colleague to personally drive us back to our villa directly when they could’ve just let us wait for the next shuttle bus that caters to all guests in the island (But we would have to go ONE BIG ROUND before we could reach our Villa destination that is...) And that’s what I meant when I said ANYTHING that’s organized & hosted by AMDG… It always seems that there’s magic in the air… We always get that extra touch of great services… (And AMDG is not telling me WHY either…)

Not only did I make lots of friends with the people in Bintan, I also got to know a charming white pony; Malati.

Wayan and his gang of colleagues were very passionate & energetic in their work and they quickly got me into gear, with the cowboy hat and vest... Soon, I was ready to Hee-Hahhh…!

Although Sitari (Malati's “guardian”) is not very fluent with English, he tries his best to communicate with me during my ride and I really appreciate the effort, so the both of us were speaking in broken English, literally! We could only say the individual words that we thought the other could comprehend, if not search a simpler word to express what we wanted to say...

You can imagine a lot of “Urms...”, “Arh...” and “Err...” in our conversation but it was interesting... If I weren't on a pony, I might very well use my hands and legs to show him what I meant...

The change of environment, the breath of freshness and the many things that I wouldn't be able to experience in a cosmopolitan city, totally invigorates my Mind, Body & Soul in this place!

Nature has a life of its own and devoting your being to the serenity, without the disturbances of modern technologies and inconsiderate noise pollution, gives one the clarity in the mind to move forward with certainty...

That's why the best time and place to meditate; is during a retreat.

Watching the bright orange sun rising and taking my morning stroll down the beach daily, it just makes you appreciate the little things in life that we take for granted and the beauty we fail to see, as we rush through our life...

From the friendly service staff in the Restaurants, Bistros & Bars, to the helpful Buggy Drivers, Security Guards and caring Hotel / Villa staffs, they displayed passion and joy for their work... Even when we were leaving on the bus to the Ferry Terminal, Al and Dwi personally came to send us off; shook our hands and bade us farewell... They seemed reluctant to let us go; and we were reluctant to go too (as drama as I may have sound... But that's how we felt then.) And this whole week has been paradise to us all… They treated us VERY well with their hospitality & sweet gestures flavoured with kindness from their heart!!!

It was a long time since I’ve felt rejuvenated... And it's all thanks to EVERY SINGLE PERSON I’ve met in Bintan; giving me this pleasant and enjoyable time...

But without AMDG giving me this opportunity & making this arrangement to vacate, such an experience would not have come by...

Therefore, a huge THANK YOU to AMDG… To Rena (My Artiste & Talent Manager & Mentor), and to Mr. Eric See (My GrandMentor & AMDG Advisor) who’d inspired me greatly during this trip & taught me many more new knowledge I’ve acquire!!!

To see many more photos of this wonderful trip…

Click HERE for Part ONE

Click HERE for Part TWO

(Take note that photos taken on this trip are either by DSLR Camera, normal Compact Camera and/ or Handphone Camera – Thus the varies in quality level on each pictures ya… All photos come with a caption... Enjoy!)

Friday, October 1, 2010

Will I Go Into A Relationship Again?

Last weekend I attended a wedding banquet, it was the usual dinner menu and video clips of that morning's tea ceremony, but what made the entire wedding special is that moment when the Bride & Groom entered the ballroom - I always find that expression of joy and bliss in every newly-wed unique; and it never fails to warm the heart of all those who is present to witness this sacred ceremony walk-in.

I was especially happy for the bride that night because at the end of the day, she had found a man who loves and knows how to appreciate & value her.

You know, to me, “I Do…” – Is the MOST romantic & sacred words in a wedding vow?

I Simply Love Weddings… Because it's a Celebration of Love and all things beautiful.

The Dresses, the Make-up, the Accessories.

The Food, the Decor, the Ambience.

The Guests, the Happenings… The blissfulness of the newly-wed – And when you look at it as a WHOLE on this entire heartfelt event... It’s simply Picturesque!

Watching the two Lovebirds from a near distance, I can't help but think of my own marriage...

Will I Be Able To Find Someone Who Will Love Me For Who I Am Again?

Realistically, this all seemed bleak & despairing to me, especially since I’ve published “This Is My Story...”

I mean... Which guy can TRULY embrace & accept my past; I can’t help but wonder deep in thought to myself (AS IF) I am the only one here (in this room) even though its crowded with wonderful people from all walks of life who've came to offer their well-wishes to the newly wed today.

I used to dream my perfect wedding where I’ll put on the most stunning wedding dress, having the most delicious food served, and having as many people attend to give me their well-wishes & blessings, it's all I could ever ask for.

And in all honest truth… I once thought I had found my “Apple”, till I found out for myself how rotten that “Apple” was... I told myself then that I was never, EVER gonna have another “Apple” in my life. I hated apples, when truth is, I am too afraid of having another (rotten) “Apple”.

Many of my readers who wrote me expressed similar sentiments as I’ve had before; being afraid of falling in love again after getting hurt & scarred in a relationship that they supposedly thought was sacred & beautiful... But reality as it turns out; always tend to be unforgiving and cruel.

And it was my GrandMentor who made me realized; that we can't say for sure that all the “apples” in the basket are rotten...

Rather than being afraid of “apples” for the rest of our life, what we can do for ourselves is to learn how to IDENTIFY & SINGLE-OUT the rotten ones and pick the good ones instead, but DON’T expect ANYONE to be perfect, because they will NOT be so... He said. “Perfection Lies In The Wisdom Of How One Perceives Perfection To Be... And The Key To Nurture & Strengthen A Strong & Meaningful Relationship; Is To Learn How To Give & Take; Consciously & Thoughtfully Always, From BOTH Parties.

If One Knows Only How To TAKE; But Know NOT How To GIVE (Compromise), One Will Just Ruin What Could Be A Beautiful Relationship To Begin With - And Love Alone Is A Flimsy Foundation To A Marriage... Because When Loves Die, The Marriage Dies With It Simply...

After receiving many MORE of such awakening truths from my GrandMentor, I slowly found the strength to give love another chance, and the Ghost of My Past has indeed become a true sacred Gift, a great valuable lesson in life, a true Gift of Wisdom; that is bestowed upon me to guide me on HOW TO identify & single-out those rotten “apples” and pick only the good ones & HOW to cultivate & nurture a good relationship…

It was with all these awakening truths that finally led me to face the world bravely once more with an overhaul make-over of my OLD life to a completely NEW life; re-created, re-designed & watched over by my GrandMentor; (He always said Life Is By Design if you know how to...) and AS IF it was my NEW DestinyCalling, this NEW Life of mine, in a very intuitive & divine way led me to execute an "impromptuCAUSE after witnessing MANY ladies out there that are in the SAME predicament like me and sadly; end up DEAD by committing suicide (or attempting suicide) thinking that there is no way out for them when they DO! Thus, I'd decided to share with the world MY STORY since, so that NO ladies should be USED & TREATED like a “play-thing” no more, but with respect, appreciation and love.

Many of my readers had written to me asking if I will ever go into a relationship again… My answer is a tranquil ‘yes…’ - I now keep an open-mind with regards to my Mr. Right should the time come for me to fall in love again – To me, the right man would be the man who CAN accept MY PAST and treats me well, loves me genuinely with his warm embrace & love me for who I am, and fulfil that marriage vows in this one lifetime of his…

And I too, will pledge everything of mine everlastingly to him and make him feel that only him; and HIM alone; that I am willing to pledge my whole life as a faithful, loving & understanding wife who will do her utmost best to complete him in this life, and together; journey towards a brand new life with offsprings of our own; till the day we both depart from this world, affectionately & devotedly till our very last breath.

Should such a Nice & Wonderful man EVER appear in my life…

I AM Ready To Take That Leap Of Faith.

But For Now… I Am All Focus In My Career, Calling and my Mission to advocate my Cause - Through This Book… As You Already Heard of, Read And/ Or Know, namely, “This Is My Story…”

Kasandra K.