Sunday, March 29, 2009

What on earth is a hypno birth?

When people ask me when I'm going to have a baby, I usually say, "I've already got 3!" but my girlfriends who've become mothers just roll their eyes "I know you love your pugs Jo but it's not quite the same thing"

Having said that, it's good practice to bring up and nurture my 3 beloved pugs. For me, it's the closest thing for now to having children. I really couldn't say when I might become a Mum because it's not the right time for me. One day la I'm sure it's gonna happen ;)

My childhood girlfriend Sharifah opted for something called a hypno birth. I wonder if I'd be that brave to go without any painkillers or drugs. She had to train for it. You need to be really mentally prepared so she did breathing exercises and yoga leading up to the pregnancy.

Self hypnosis placed her in a relaxed state such that she would feel no pain during the process. In fact, she even enjoyed it. Quite far out right? but it's amazing what the mind can do.

She wasn't screaming out through the contractions. Instead, she was really calm because she was able to "shut off" the extreme pain via hypnosis. You know, I heard of an Irish surgeon who's patients were under hypnosis while he conducted full on surgery without the use of general anasthesia. Actually, I don't even need to look that far. Just look at the Thaipusam festival we have here every year with all those needles in them shudder yet apparently, they feel nothing.

courtesy of

The inspiring "food for thought" to ponder on is that the mind is so powerful. The same power it has to stress you out is the same mind that can put you at ease. Stress and pain can be controlled and minimised if you keep the body and mind fit. I've been told it's so important to stay in a positive space when you're pregnant not even for your own sake but for the child as well.

Every new parent I've spoken to have said that your life changes completely and it's a 24/7 responsibility but they also say that they have no regrets because it's such a beautiful gift with all the joys and challenges it brings.

Babies have this natural ability to transport us into the present moment. Just look at the father's face (Bill, on left) staring at his bundle of joy with such pride. It has been so interesting to see my old friend Farhana (happy Mum on right) grow and evolve as she steps into the shoes of being a new Mum. Of course, she has also asked "so Jo, when's your turn?"

I don't know the answer to that question but when the time comes, I'm sure I would start reading up on all sorts of stuff but there's only so much you can read. My girlfriends say you need to EXPERIENCE it to know what it's like coz "you just don't know till you go through it yourself" So, like I said, one day la ;)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Lights Out!

Earth Hour is happening on Saturday 28th of March from 8.30pm to 930pm. I will be tap dancing with percussion at Cap Square.It's alright if you don't "see" me all that clearly in the dark coz I'll have my tap shoes on so at least you'll hear me hehe ;) All proceeds of everything that's happening that night will be donated to the WWF. If you'd like to speed date by candle light, do the charity walk or jump onto stage and have me teach you a tap step, please come by!

Earth Hour was created by WWF in 2007 where it had about 2.2 million homes and businesses turning off their non essential lights and appliances. By 2008, there were 35 million participants across 400 cities round the world on all 7 continents. This year, they're trying to target a billion!

Major landmarks round the world are turning off their lights...

The famous colloseum in Rome in complete darkness for Earth Hour last year

Sydney Opera House in Australia

The beautiful Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco, USA

According to WWF Thailand, the amount that Bangkok decreased electricity usage by during Earth Hour was equivalent to 41.6 tonnes of carbon dioxide! Can you imagine the energy savings? And that's just Thailand so please do your bit. If you're home, turn off your lights. You may think it's not much help but it ALL adds up!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Do dogs watch TV?

My pug Pickle is the only one who actively does this. For one, she reacts to her own reflection (the other 2 pugs don't even know it's them if you put their faces in front of a mirror). Pickle also faces the TV when it's on and her whole body language seems to suggest she's watching! One time, I was reaching for the remote control and she ducked her head from under my arm because I was obstructing her view of the TV! Wow. It wasn't a coincidence then. She really was tuned in and watching whatever was on.

I've never seen anything like it. I've had so many dogs and they react to the occasional loud noise but nothing more. Pickle is unusual. She seems just as involved as I am watching a drama!

The weirdest thing was the other day. She barked for the first time at the TV set. She's never done it before and believe me, I've watched every season of Prison Break with her in total silence. Even destruction and bombs going off don't phase her.

She barked because she could make out that there was another dog on screen! The others only bark if they HEAR a bark coming out of the TV set, fair enough right but she could actually see the dog and she lept off the sofa and ran to the console and started barking at it.

And she's the only one who has this 3 dimensional vision (that's what I've been calling it coz the others don't "see" or make out the pictures on screen). I was on my lap top one night and she was on my lap so I wondered if she would react to a silent dog video I found on U tube and she tried to attack my screen. Her paws reached into thin air trying to get the dog's attention. It was really funny! :)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Can you keep a Secret?

You know how you can meet a stranger at a party and never forget them because they made a big impact on you? Well, I met a guy at a party years ago in Australia. We didn't even exchange numbers. We've only met that one time and I've never ever seen him since. We were like ships passing in the night but I will never forget meeting him because it was an intense and highly unusual encounter.

I recall he had a shaved head and tribal tattoos. He was over 6 foot, really lean with a hard looking jawline. Basically, he looked like a gangster.

If you were a man, you wouldn't wanna cross his path in a dark alley because he looked dangerous.

For some reason, he singled me out at this party and asked if he could have a moment? I nod a little nervously because looking around, I realised we were completely alone on the outer balcony.

He asked me point blank "can you keep a secret?" I nod again even more nervously because I feel he's under pressure. Like a bottle of uncorked wine about to burst open spilling its red contents everywhere.

There was a myriad of conflicted expressions on his face like he was in pain or was suddenly weighing up whether he should tell me or not.

"What is it?" I ask him. "It's ok. You can tell me" I'm not even sure why I used the tone a soothing mother uses on her terrified son but that's what he drew out of me. I was genuinely concerned and more than a little disturbed because he looked like he was about to have a nervous break down.

And that's pretty much what happened. His head was in his hands. He said he'd been carrying a burden which grew heavier by the year and that he couldn't take it anymore. The secret was eating him up, destroying his peace of mind. He was tired of putting up a front and being someone else every day. He was so exhausted by the lie (I was wondering who he was pretending to be but didn't dare stop him. It was all starting to flow out like therapy)

He went on to say that he was the ring leader of a gang of guys who were all "alpha" males. His best friend was also in this gang and he'd been hiding something from him which was becoming unbearable.
"What is it?" I ask gently.

He says "I'm in love with him and if he ever found out, he would probably spit in my face, maybe even kill me" I gasped because it was so unexpected. I didn't see it coming.

He said he tried being "normal" He even went out with a couple of girls but he couldn't bring himself to sleep with them. He knew there was something wrong but he just kept quiet. He suppressed all urges thinking they would go away. They never did.

After all, he was in this gang of blokes that even made fun of gays and he would laugh along with them and their "poofter jokes" with the gang never knowing he was a closet case.

I asked him (J)
J: "have you told anyone about this?
He said (H)
H: "no, never"
J: "So why are you telling me?"
H: "because it doesn't matter anymore"
J: "how can that be? Aren't you worried I will tell someone about you?"
H: "of course I am. It's a burning secret I've carried for so many years. I've not told a soul. My Dad would even disown me. I know it"
J: "I promise I won't say anything. There's no one who you know I know. You're safe. We're total strangers"
H: "I won't be around tomorrow anyway"

OMG. My heart started to race. I felt helpless because he could see no way out of his situation. Sadly, he was NOT going to be accepted by his parents nor his male gang of friends. I was imploring him to listen to me. What he was planning was not a solution. He couldn't be serious surely? Could this guy be planning his own death? He was shaking. I was so frazzled. I told him he could call me if he was thinking about doing anything really stupid.

I went to get a pen to write down my phone number for him. When I got back to the balcony, he was gone. I asked everyone about him but no one even knew who he was! He must've gate crashed the party which is why he was extra safe there baring his soul to a complete stranger in a roomful of strangers. He knew no one there!

I was deeply troubled by this strange meeting (one of the most disturbing in my life) but there was nothing I could do. I said a prayer for him but I never ever heard or saw him again.

Over the years, I find my thoughts flicking back to that night and I have so many unanswered questions.

"Did he do it?"
"Was I the last person he spoke to?"

I can only hope he found a way to live with himself. Somehow.

It's sad how we pigeon hole people and put them into boxes so confining sometimes that they break open under pressure.

I really feel for this guy and for everyone like him. Be careful not to bottle up your own identity to a point of a total meltdown. By then, it may be too late.
I know we can't expect others to accept us if we don't wholeheartedly accept ourselves first. At the end of the day, you must be able to live with yourself. Be comfortable in your own skin.

I truly believe that we are all God's creation, God's children. However we may come.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Hosting with four legged friends!

It's not everyday I get to host an event in sneakers surrounded by wild animals. I really loved it! I'm glad I plucked up the courage to touch the python coz I'm definitely quite scared of snakes...ooh, he was slithering everywhere, yikes!

And so many of them were just walking around at Sunway's Wildlife park. This ranger reminded me of a character right out of a dinosaur flick...yeah, both of them actually, iguana included! ;)

It was cool how you could walk right up to these animals and interact with them.
I found it quite intriguing how the monitor lizard's legs were quite fat and sturdy looking. Every time I've ever seen one, it's always scuttling into some bush so it was nice having the time to observe it's markings up close and personal.

This was such an adorable gibbon. He had realyl long hand which felt just like human hands and he let me hold his hand without any complaints. I couldn't believe how similar it felt to a human palm in terms of texture :)

I used to ride horses (big horses) until I fell off one at breakneck pace. It was really frightening and I'm lucky I didn't break any bones. I haven't managed to find the guts to get back on a horse since but I absolutely respect and love the beauty of horses. One day, I'm sure I may ride again but it was good baby step for me to start bonding with a minuature first lol ;)

The kids loved it. Sure beats being in a classroom. Much better to learn about animals like this rather than from a book...makes you really appreciate them when you're up this close and you can form a connection with them.

You see they were pointing at some birds flying around and can you imagine a cuckatoo just landed on my arm and walked down it like a branch. Can you see it perched on my hand?

I think it was talking but I dont know what the cuckatoo was saying because the kids were making so much noise haha

It's kind of hard to imagine a peacock that was this size a few feet away from me one moment could suddenly look like....

THIS in the very next moment...Wow. It was really stunning and all the feathers started to make a sound. It was vibrating as it fanned out. Hard to describe. It was like a whirr..while showing off to another bird this peacock was trying to impress. I'd like to think it opened up for me but no such thing! hehe, I wasn't desirable in his books ;)

then, all of a sudden, this gorgeous display turned its back on me and I got worried I had scared it off or worse, that it got angry with me but it was just strolling toward its new love interest phew!

Had a lot of fun out at Sunway's interactive zoo. Who would think it was home to about 100 or so rare animals in there?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Falling asleep in the strangest of places

The lady in the shop gave me a funny look while I was pouring my imaginary tea but before buying a tea pot, I wanted to see how it felt (how heavy or light etc) that's all. Nothing like actually trying a product to see if its up your street right?

Well, this wasn't as extreme as when I was looking for a mattress for my new home. I was fully attired and lying down on this one particular bed I couldn't afford in a furniture store. I was curious because the mattress was over RM12k (way out of my budget!) so I wanted to try it out.

I lay down on it and guess what? I actually fell asleep and the people working there didn't wake me up. Was the mattress THAT comfortable or was I THAT exhausted? Probably both.

My boyfriend who was meant to meet me at this furniture store was calling to say he was running late but I slept right through it. He was getting quite worried.

He reaches the store (it was one of those huge ones you see by the road taking up a whole warehouse). He starts describing me to a member of staff asking if anyone's seen me. The guy said he hadn't but to try the dining room section.

Of course I wasn't there either but when he got to the bedroom section, there I was sleeping in the exact same position I was in from the hour before.

I was so confused and disoriented when he woke me up. You know that moment when it takes a while for your brain to register where you are?

Well, it all came rushing back to me that I was furniture shopping. OMG, how embarrassing but the staff were so cool. They didn't bother me and didn't seem annoyed that I wasn't buying the bed either, phew!

I felt recharged as I left the store. A power nap when you're really tired can go a long way. They were all smiling away. I guess it's a compliment to the product that a customer fell asleep right away on one of their beds ;)

I'm NOT his girlfriend

I was sitting in a restaurant in Singapore and the waitress says to my father "what will your lady like to drink?" As if I don't have a voice to order my own drink. She simply assumed I was his mistress or girlfriend. I couldn't totally blame her because Dad looks more like an ang moh so we don't really look like we're related but STILL....uuugh!!! (choking sounds)

It was a downright unpleasant feeling to be pigeon holed into a "good time girl" box. I decided not to say anything (though I was itching to correct her) and calmly ordered my orange juice.

It occurred to me that there was no need to say anything at all because my Mum was about to join us and she would realize she'd made a mistake.

Mum breezes in and says to me cheerfully while the waitress was serving our drinks, "have you ordered Mum anything?"

I chuckle inwardly when her eyes dart to my Mum and then back to me and I can almost hear her thinking "ohhhh, she's his daughter"

You know it's crazy how many dirty stares I've had over the years when I'm alone with my father. I've told him before he'll ruin my reputation by doing nothing at all haha. Just walking through a mall with me is bad enough.

Perhaps I need to walk round with a sign board with an arrow pointing toward him which says "that's my Dad in case you were wondering" :)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Green screen

The floor and the walls are seamless so you can put in any background or walking surface later on in post production

It took us the whole day to shoot the opening montage of Health Buzz even though it's only 30 seconds long. Every aspect of the moving background had to be carefully mapped out on a grid... Jehan and I kept moving around till they had us standing exactly where they wanted us

Studying my Malay lines as usual hoping I'm pronouncing everything right. I was always with my trusted piece of paper. It took me a while to get used to this. In English, I don't use a script at all. I just go with it. Malay was a challenge...hope you can all bear with me on it ;)

Hardly the same size in biceps but hey, I was trying ok...

The cyclist just kept cycling back and forth on this diagonal and he had to get the speed just right so he wouldn't look too blur on screen.

The yoga experts did some really advanced moves. Everyone watched them quietly in case we disturbed their concentration, especially on those balancing poses...

I ran out to the edge of the green screen whenever I had the chance. It's so hot under those lights that you could fry an egg. It's a burn zone. You know like the big lights they use for skincare ads? Pretty similar. I shot one years ago and my shirt became drenched, like I was in a sauna. I couldn't believe how sweltering it was. That's why everyone looks so flawless but bet you they're all so uncomfortable while they're at it! ;)

This is my soundman, Tony. Always listening to his headphones and nodding away...

Anna and Bathi kickboxing. In the actual 30 sec montage of Health Buzz, everything is white.

That's why you can't use any green clothing for this. You'd disappear into the background. For blue screens, you have to totally avoid blue for the same reasons.

She was moving pretty fast. We caught some great footage of her...

Bathi blocking his face...

The kids were so cute! I found them absolutely adorable. They all looked so tiny in there but they kicked with precision and made all those grunting noises. They were quite serious, don't mess!

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    I find blogging quite therapeutic. It gives me a chance to express my thoughts. I'm currently a TV host living in KL and the mother of 3 confused looking pugs! ;) If u have the time, my modelling shots, tap dancing clips, full biography and TV trailers are all on :-)

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