Bags, Pillows, and Pincushions: 35 Quick and Easy Projects by Better Homes & Gardens Cooking

>> Wednesday, 26 February 2014

This book which has cost me some good RM was bought in year 2012 from a bookstore in
Berjaya Time Square. I remember to have visited the book store several times (during lunch time) before the actual buy - had the sneak-peek, thinking and giving serious financial consideration - to ensure this is going to be a worth spent. Let's see what's inside:
*note: parts of pages are intentionally "blurred" to address the copyright issue.
table of contents: 35 quick bags, pillow and pincushions making projects 

some of the pincushion projects.

bag making: this clutch is lovely and a must-try project

step by step written instructions

step by step actual visual instructions

step by step illustration instructions 

and the are numerous editor's tip for each projects!

actual size patterns are attached inside

step-by-steps instructions to make decorative knot for the pillow 
Trust, this is going to be a worth buy!.

click to buy


Paul Allen - the Idea Man by Paul Allen

>> Friday, 14 June 2013

Review is not available.


The Seige of Mecca by Yaroslav Trofimov

Not many are aware that the Holy Mecca was under bloody seige in 1979 and was not made public by the Arab Saudi government.

The book walked readers through to understand the history of the Al-Saud's family - the ruler, tracked down how the "Wahhabi" has formed into another branch of the believers and how they have disputed with the Sunnis.

It tells who is Juhayman, the mastermind of the attack and how he together with Mohammed Abdullah al-Qahtani, who was declared to be the Imam Mahdi, the redeemer, has seiged the Holy of Mecca for two weeks and ended up tragically.

Another part of this book which I found interesting was how the disruptions of global oil productions has changed the Saudi economy over night, that massive work of construction has taken place, changing the size of the Holy Mecca into six folds. It is more interesting to learn that the family bin Laden is the owner of the construction company.


The Moon amidst the Cogongrass by Lim Swee Tin

Collections of contemporary poetry by Lim Swee Tin, available in English and the local language. The one I love the most:

The white bird
flies low
over the rolling green sea
flying by
with the black sky behind her
she looks
even whiter


Iman Khomeini: Life, Thought and Legacy by Abdar Rahman Koya

>> Wednesday, 27 February 2013

A biography of the late Iman Khomeini - a leading scholar of the Shi'i, an author, a profound Islamic leader and reformer. He is responsible for the establishment of the new Islamic government and replaced the last Iranian Monarchy, the Pahlavi. The following snapshot was taken from the appendix to explain why. 


An Enduring Love by Farah Pahlavi

>> Saturday, 16 February 2013

One fine afternoon, a friend asked what I do. I replied - reading the biography of Farah Pahlavi, the exile Queen of the late King of Iran. Oh the free-hair princess of the so called islamic country, she asked. I returned a short reply - is here new?

Farah Diba was born in an upper-class family in Tehran and was the only child. Her father died when she was young, and later lived and brought up by close relative family. She studied architecture in Paris and met the King of Iran, Mohamad Reza Pahlavi during a university visit.

She was 21 years old when married the king whom previous marriage was without an heir. The marriage was blessed with 4 children, the eldest son the crown Prince Reza, Princess Farahnaz, Prince Ali-Reza and Princess Leila. Later at the end of the chapter, Princess Leila the youngest daughter was found dead in her bedroom due to over-dosed tranquilizers.  10 years later, Ali-Reza has committed suicide after a long depression, and feel ill-fated to be exiled and away from own country, besides losing his close sister, Princess Leila.

The king has introduced new policies to modernize (and turned secular) Iran, but has conflicted with the traditional and islamic values. 1979, the Iran revolution lead by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini has successfully overthrown the Pahlavi dynasty and put the imperial family into events of exile to Panama, Mexico and Egypt. Due to political reasons (and arrest and  death threats) no country but Egypt has offered the imperial family a permenant stay. President Anwar Sadat has also given the best attention to the king's health, who at the time, was diagnosed with deteriorating cancer. The king was dead in 1980, and President Anuar sadat has granted asylum to the King's family. Sadly, in 1981, President Anwar Sadat was assinated.

Farah is now residing in the United States.

(and my next reading is the Biography of Ayatollah Khomeini )



101 Things You Didn't Know About Da Vincci

>> Sunday, 3 February 2013

Leonardo da Vinci who painted the famous Mona Lisa was born in Italy on April 15 1452. Those who knew metaphysic, please do some calculation and you ll be surprise how almost true, the personality of the number 4 he is in ( and the VIP number he has with him)

Leonardo was born as an illegitimate child. Some claimed her mother was a family servant (or maid)  and had secret romance with his father, whose job as a legal notary job was running in the family. He was brought up by the family of his father and was particularly close with an uncle who own a farm. He spent a lot of time there, and learnt to appreciate the beauty of landscapes, and had them either sketched or painted. Her mother left him, and had family of her own. His father maried several times, and produced him siblings.  

Leonardo never really attended school and was informally taught to read and write at his father's house. In later years he did paiting for the popes, dukes, and kings. Known mainly for his painting, he was also a sculptor, a mathematician, an inventor, a cartographer, a scientist, a musician, a philosopher, a writer, and above all, an influential and intellectual human being. A multy-talented, he is one of the greatest minds of all time.

Several facts about Leonardo that interst me:

  • Leonardo developed a backwards writing code, to keep his ideas secret.
  • Da Vinci is said to have left many of his paintings incomplete. Reportedly, he also destroyed a number of his own works.
  • He was left-handed and always wrote in mirror handwriting, perhaps to guard his ideas from intellectual thieves.
  • Leonardo never married, or have romantic relationship with anybody. But he has good appreciation to good looking man and and turned them into good friends.


The Life of Mahatma Gandhi by Louis Fischer

>> Monday, 7 January 2013

Louis Fisher is a Jewish-American born in 1896. A school teacher, turned a British Army volunteer, and made a career as a journalist with interest in world's politics and figures of the era

The book
A soft-cover with 626 pages, excluding sources and bibliography and indexing - a great help to recall the numerous names and subjects in between of reading.

The book is divided into 3 parts - Part one, "The End and The Beginning" detailed out the lineage of Gandhi, early days in school, years to graduate law in London, his early years of being an "utterless" lawyer, his 21 years tenure in the South Africa, leading the Civil Rights movement to abolish racism, prejudice and injustice against Indians in the South Africa, years of being away from home and family, and nurtured as a social activist.

Part two " Gandhi in India" were series of Civil right movement after returning home, to abolish the Hindu multi-caste divides and unite the multi-religions people, to strike agaist the highly imposed tax and the monopoly by British on salt and textiles, and the beginning to acquire independence for India. All actions were in a form of the so-called Non-Cooperation - an act of non-violence and peaceful resistances. It is intersting to learn how a simple boycott on British related products (school, law firm, employments), and making home-made salt and spinned-fabrics did give big impact to the monopolized British economy, that send Gandhi and friends, many times into prisons.

The final part, The Birth of Two Nations, gathers around series of violence and killing events between the HIndu and Muslim that led to the the partition of  India and the creation a country for the muslim called the Pakistan, before the independence of India was sought. It is interesting to learn that Gandhi, who resisted the creation of Pakistan from the beginning (for he believe in unity instead), was assinated for being "responsible in favouring Pakistan"- he was assinated for favoring the compensation of amount 550,000,000 rupess to Pakistan, besides his doctorine of the non-violence.


Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born in 1869. His is from Vaisya caste origins, the third caste in Hindu society. His father inherited a high officer post from his grandfather and greatgrandfather, in a small a state called Porbandar.  At age of 13-year-old Mohandas married to 13-year-old Kasturbai Makhanji and had four sons: Harilal, Manilal, Ramdas, and Devdas.

Of all the four, Harilal the eldest has a significant story. He was a feel-neglected son since child, whose dream to study in England but was opposed by own father who believed, - receiving life-training is a lot more important than an formal education that Hiralal was currently in the right track (taking care of the mother and broters in India, while Gandhi was in South Africa). He openly rebelling his own father by converting to Islam. He was said to appear in derelict condition at his father's funeral, that few had recognized him.

The day Gandhi was assassinated he looked
".. so serene was the face and so mellow that the hallow of devine that surrounds the body that it seemed almost sacrilegious to grieve"

The day Gabdhi died
"..he is a private ctitzen, wothout wealty, property official titles, official posts, acedemic distinctions, scientific achievemnets or artistic gifts.
He is just an orginary man in a loincloth

Gandhi was not a bright student during his school days
"He encountered difficulty in mastering the multifiation than learning naughty names for the teacher."

Gandhi was greatly inspired by the Bhagavad Gita - a part of Mahabbrata, the greatest Indian epic and the world's longest poem which contains fables, philosophical dissertations and theological discussions.The Gita's emphasis on selfless service. Gandhi once said
"When doubts haunt me, when disappointments stare me in the face, and I see not one ray of hope on the horizon, I turn to Bhagavad-Gita and find a verse to comfort me; and I immediately begin to smile in the midst of overwhelming sorrow. My life has been full of external tragedies and if they have not left any visible or invisible effect on me, I owe it to the teaching of the Bhagavad Gita."

Gandhi was a complete failure a lawyer in Rajkot and Bombay:
"He could not utter a word during a petty case in court

John Ruskin's unto this last placed is another great influence to Gandhi, it
" preached the dignity of manual labour, urge the simple life, and stressed the debilitating complexities of the modern economic system"

Gandhi read and learn all relions
"He reads the Gita in the morning and Koran in English translation at noon. He used the bible to teach English to Christian Chinese fellow prisoner. He reads Ruskin, Socrates, Tolstry, HUxley, Bacon's essay and Carlyle's Lives. He was happy. Be believed whoever has a good taste for reading good books is able to bear loneliness  in any place with great ease."

Gandhi in jail
"He had seventy five compatriots with him in jail, and he become their cook."

" On 14 Nov, when Gandhi was brought to trial, Kallenbach and Polak testified against him. Twenty four hours later, Gandhi appeared as a witness agaisnst Kallenbach, and two days after that, Gandhi and Kallenbach testified against Polak."

He loves the people:
"A foreighner was once said to Gandhi " How is your family/ and " he replied, "all of India is my family"

Gandhi was besieged by people who demanded a view of Mahatma, during his tour by train:
"If Gandhi train did not halt at their tiny station they would lie down on the tracks and be run over by it. The train did stop there."

Gandhi said he is a farmer
At the preliminary hearing after his arrest, Gandhi gave his age as fifty-three and his profession "farmer and weaver"

Gandhi spinned and weaved during congress.
At congress meeting, members would open a small box liek a violin case , take out a collapsable spinning wheel and spin noiselessly throughout the proceeding

At karachi, 50000 people watched as salt was made on the seashore

Gandhi on air:
The Columbia Broadcasting System arranged for a radio address to the United States the day after gandhi's arrival in England. In the studio he eyed the microphone and said " Do I have to speak into that?". He was already on the air.

Treat me like everbodyelse
The prisoner governer brought furniture, crokery and other utensils for Gandhi. "For whom you have brought all this" Gandhi protested "Take it away please"

Gandhi knew that people with full refrigirators, crowded clothes closets, cars in every garage and radios in every rooms my still be psychologically insecure and unhappy. "Rome" he said "suffered a moral befall when it attained high material affluence"

His goal is to be and not to have

The lavatory joke
He had also read my Men and Politics; he read it in his library, as he called the lavatory where he kept a shelf of books.

Gadhi touched his palm together, smiled and blessed. At the moment, Godse pulled the trigger. Gandhi fell and died murmurring "Oh God"


Princess Masako - Prisoner of the Chrysanthemum Throne

>> Saturday, 20 October 2012

A deeply touched reading, and among the book I re-read once finished. I will do the review soon.


Sold for a silver - Janet Lim an Autobiography

Another biography reading, Sold for Silver, is the true story of a China-born Janet Lim who lived in hardship and poverty, then was sold at tender age by her parents for slavery in 1930s.

The few early chapters described the days when she was in China, lives in poverty but happily with her parents and a brother. She was only eight, when was sold and shipped to Singapore, then bought to serve a rich merchant family- as a maid and having to nightly escape (and hide) from the sexual abuse master.

Years later, she joined a missionary school, then was serving a missionary hospital as a nurse when Japanese arrived and attacked Singapore 1942. She joined to escape on a missionary ship, butwas bombed and sink, but she floated and rescued alive. She was captured by the Japanese armies, become the pool of  comfort-woman (sexual-imprisonment), but again escape and survived.

An inspirational autobiography of a true heroine and a survival. Unfortunately, the few last pages was missing and I cant give a good guess, what was the end. (I told the librarian to pull off this book off the shelf when I return it)



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