Friday, 15 May 2009

Insignificant BIG difference

I was actually in the middle of composing another entry describing my experience in KL while on holiday not long ago... but I decided to abandon the entry half way through because of a sad incident which happened last week. While I was writing about the hotel i stayed at and the food i tasted and the places we've been to, it suddenly seemed pointless and meaningless.

Last week on a Friday morning, the normal activities of Westbourne grounded to a halt and the M&S that i worked at was shut in the morning because a man was found dead outside the store area. Initially, when the cause of death and the identity of the deceased remained a mystery, people were just horrified that a death had occurred. However, as police investigation got underway and more and more was revealed, we found out that the deceased was someone we used to know. Ralph Millward, the deceased was a BIG Issue seller who used to stand outside the store (rain or shine or snow) and chatted to everyone who greeted him. In fact, my partner and I knew him more than that because he used to sit on the steps behind my partner's shop with a book and was always very friendly whenever we chatted to him. Courteous, polite and dignified, those were some of the words that i could think of to describe him. Not many may agree because Ralph was a homeless person who lived on the streets. But if you do a search on google, the amount of tributes paid to Ralph is overwhelming. What was sad and horrifying about this incident was that Ralph did not die because he was weak from living on the streets, or was weakened by the harsh weather, or not having proper nutrition... Ralph paid with his life just because some 14 and 16 year-old kids decided that they wanted to have some fun. A post-mortem revealed that he died from multiple injuries sustained from prolonged and brutal attacks. Until today i still find it hard to accept this senseless and brutal murder and it made me think really long and hard when a customer said to me yesterday 'You really wonder what kind of upbringing these children have had'. What are their parents thinking now, knowing that their children have killed someone?? Whenever i was doing my evening shift, i would look out and Ralph would be standing there with his Big Issues and chatting away to people. Now he's gone. There is a huge emptiness where he used to station himself. Instead, what replaced him now is a massive pile of flowers, teddy bears, candles and drawings, all of which were personal tributes from people who used to know him and care for him. I think i feel the same way a lot of people are feeling now... i wished i had given more and chatted to him more. Coming back from work at the uni i would walk past him, going into work i would walk past him... but i never once asked if he has eaten or if he was cold or if he was tired...

Next Wednesday at 2pm, there will be a tribute and a church service for Ralph in Westbourne but sadly I won't be able to attend coz I'll be at work in the uni. But I'll be thinking of Ralph, the insignificant BIG difference.

Rest in peace Ralph because we know you're in heaven now.

Monday, 4 May 2009

Travel story II - The Eastern and Oriental Hotel in Penang

I can't believe i left it so long before i started writing another entry for my blog!!?? And after two weeks, the holiday seemed like ages ago now but i must share our experience at the Eastern and Oriental Hotel simply because it was really special.

My last entry ended with me being enchanted by the beauty of The Eastern and Oriental Hotel and here are some pictures to show you. Mind you the pictures were not really taken properly and they really did not do the hotel much justice at all because truly, you have to be physically present at the lobby area and the room to be able to fully appreciate it.

Me standing in between the sitting area and the bed

The bathroom with the his and hers wash basins

Each suit in the hotel comprises of three different areas -- the sitting room where the television is (that has a set of french doors leading to the balcony overlooking the sea and the swimming pool), and the bed area with a majestic looking mahogany oak closet directly facing the soft and hugeeee bed (and there is a butler's button next to bed too, hehe, which we never used) and then through to the next area is the bathroom area with a separate shower and a separate toilet, and 'his' and 'hers' wash basins. It was just pureeee luxury and we were glad we booked 4 nights at the hotel because from the service right to the food at the breakfast buffet, everything was PURRRRR-fect. I've attached some pictures to show you what i mean.

The view of the swimming pool and the sea from the room balcony

The breakfast area overlooking the sea

The lobby area

Of course after that luxurious 4-night stay, we had to start making our way back to Singapore and we started by taking the night train from Butterworth to Kuala Lumpur. After getting used to all that comfortable Egyptian cotton sheets on the bed and the luxurious and elegant marbled-floor bathroom, the reality of the toilet and the rough sheets and blanket on the bunk bed on the train really did come as a SHOCK. The lesson here is never ever get used to too much luxury because reality will slap you hard on the face :P

Anyway, the train got us to Kuala Lumpur which was the important thing and to appease my mum who was constantly worried for our safety, we waited at KL Sentral until it was after 6am before we caught a taxi to our next hotel which was The Traders Hotel.

In my next entry, I will tell you all about The Traders Hotel and all the wonderful things we did in KL. Right now, i'm off to bed. To friends who are reading this blog, I hope you've enjoyed reading it as much as I have enjoyed writing it.