Tribute to my Zen cat, Sesame

Sesame 2002-2019
Sesame 2002-2019

As most people know, I am a cat owner. On Saturday, 12 January 2019, we (our family) had a difficult decision to put our dear lovely cat, Sesame to sleep. While no one wants to go through that decision-making, we, especially me, dreaded thinking of that moment. Sesame was not my first cat who had to go through the death process. I already had three cats who went through that – but those were natural death. The three earlier cats each had a disease that took them naturally away from us. Was it easy to deal with their natural death? In a way Yes. However, Sesame’s death was different and difficult. It was a decision we had to take and like many other pet owners’ questions such as “What if?”, “Was that necessary?” or “Maybe a miracle can take place…” and so on. She was put to sleep on Saturday, 12 January at 1.37 am. It was a time when the whole world became quiet and still for me. I was sure feeling helpless and lousy…

Sesame had her first seizure on 09 January, morning. We rushed her to the vet and the vet ran many tests and fixed an appointment for further tests 2 weeks later. She was back home, was eating well, but the movement had decreased and she was mostly confined to her sleeping area. Late Friday night, 11 January, before 12 am, Sesame had her second seizure. This time, it was longer than the earlier one. To make things worse, she also had bleeding from her nose. We rushed to the emergency vet. She seemed lifeless for a long time at the vet. The vet was suggesting further tests in the morning when the regular clinic is in operation. The vet was also telling us that she had limited chances of survival if we prolong her life. We looked at her and we knew she did not have the strength or determination to take it any further. After much debates among ourselves, we finally agreed to a common decision. When the decision was made to put Sesame down, she seemed to understand and started “cleaning” herself (as if preparing herself) for the final journey. My mother was the one who was speaking to her until the final journey.

As a pet owner, this is something I do not like. However, it is also something I cannot avoid too. Anything that has life in it has an expiry date too…after all, being in the Spiritual line and/or holistic, I should be better prepared? Well, not really. My departed cats and existing cats all have taught me some lessons and are still teaching me too. Each of my earlier departed cats went through the death process differently. My first cat, Jacintha had heart problems. My second cat, Violet had kidney issues. My third cat, Lotus, had blood-related issues. However, their deaths were natural – something that was slightly easier to accept. Sesame’s death was and will not be easy for me and for my mother too (as she is the one who is always at home with them). Sesame taught me a valuable lesson…What was that? Even at that time of death, there is nothing to fear: Prepare and accept it…

Can I accept? As of now, I am still struggling to accept. My cats are part of my family life. They are part of me too…It will take some time, as any death will do.

In addition, I must add something on Sesame: she was the most responsive cat I ever had. She was adopted from SPCA, together with her best buddy, Violet. She responds to any talk by us to her with “meows” and was never shy to respond in her cat meows. Even to the last, Sesame was responding with her meows – perhaps she is also saying her final “goodbyes” to us.

We had a private cremation for Sesame on 12 January 2019, Saturday. We got that done at Mount Pleasant Pet Cremation Centre.

To our dear beautiful Sesame: Thank you for being part of our family over these years. Most importantly, thank you for the wonderful memories…

I have dedicated some pages just for my cat Zen Masters in my website. I appreciate their time with me and their unspoken ways of unconditional love…

The internet is full of pet owners telling of their agony and the life lessons they received, etc. I chose two articles that relate to me most…

5 Lessons I Learned From Losing My Own Pet by Kimberley Beldam-Saylor

Dealing With the Loss of Your Cat by Adrienne Kruzer, RVT


Sharing the music pieces I love…part 3

Madonna – La Isla Bonita

Culture Club – Karma Chameleon

Madonna – Frozen

George Michael – Careless Whisper

Moby – Porcelain

Bruce Springsteen – Streets of Philadelphia

Sinéad O’Connor – Nothing Compares 2U

Beverley Craven – Promise Me


Celebrate our existence…

Today I celebrate my entrance into this world (that is my birthday). I take this time to wish anyone celebrating their birthdays on this day and for the month of January. And of course, wishing “Happy Birthday” to myself too! 🙂

Most importantly, I thank everyone (including the “Big Boss”, the Creator) who has and will be part of my life always…

Esther Birthday Cake from Awfully Chocolateawfully chocolate cake

Why wait for the world or someone to celebrate your existence? Always be in the celebration mood – and what else is better than each one of us to celebrate ourselves, our purpose and our living? When we truly understand and appreciate ourselves and our existence it will be easy to find and see beauty all around us. Nothing in the world is perfect – including us. I do not believe in waiting for something to be “perfect” to celebrate. It is important to celebrate when there are imperfections too. After all, each one of us is unique. Each one of us possesses certain qualities due to various reasons, according to our life purpose and/or life path.

Therefore, do not wait for a special occasion to celebrate yourself…you can begin now and you can do it on a daily basis…

birthday quote

“A child is born on that day, and at that hour when the celestial rays are in mathematical harmony with his individual Karma. His horoscope is a challenging portrait, revealing his unalterable past and its probable future result. But the natal chart can be rightly interpreted only by men of intuitive wisdom – These are few…”
~ Sri Yukteswar Giri ~

Today’s Quote


“You can accept or reject the way you are treated by other people, but until you heal the wounds of your past, you will continue to bleed. You can bandage the bleeding with food, with alcohol, with drugs, with work, with cigarettes, with sex, but eventually, it will all ooze through and stain your life. You must find the strength to open the wounds, stick your hands inside, pull out the core of the pain that is holding you in your past, the memories, and make peace with them”
~ Iyanla Vanzant ~

Sharing the music pieces I love…part 2

Deep Forest – Sweet Lullaby

Alphaville – Forever Young

Scorpions – Send Me An Angel

Bon Jovi – It’s My Life

Savage Garden – To The Moon & Back

Wham! – Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go

Savage Garden – Truly Madly Deeply

Duran Duran – Come Undone

Wham! – Last Christmas


Travels to Langkawi, Malaysia – Dec 2018

December 2018 is my first time flying or travelling to a destination via airplanes. Okay, that might sound “ancient” to some people. I am the type who prefers to travel via cruises instead of airplanes. Not sure why…but the idea of travelling via cruise is always pleasing to me than to travel via airplanes! Okay, the furthest I have travelled from my home country (Singapore) is to Thailand (Bangkok, Phuket, Patong). I have gone to many destinations in Malaysia (Malacca, Penang, Muar, Pahang (Tioman Island), Selangor, Langkawi, Kedah, Kuala Lumpur, Johore Bahru and more) via cruise ships, private cars or big coaches. Hey! Malaysia still has many places for me to explore…and I intend to do that more often soon, I hope.

Saturday, 15 December 2018 I flew to Langkawi. That was my first flight to Langkawi! In the past, I travelled to Langkawi via Star Cruises. Was I excited to fly for the first time? Yes – to a certain extent…But the big part comes in planning, isn’t it? I went for both relaxed and private guided tours.

Below are the details of my trip. I learned and benefited from some other people travel blogs. Now, it is my turn to contribute on my travels. I have listed the places and the companies I have used to make my trip to Langkawi a memorable one. It is just my part of sharing my travel experiences…

Let me just add – I do not get any commission or special benefits by mentioning any company contact details and services.

Happy reading and Happy travelling with me… 🙂

Trip Duration: 15 till 19 December 2018

15 December 2018, Saturday: On the way to Singapore Changi Airport, Terminal 4

Place Name: Atma Alam Batik
Address: Padang Mat Sirat, 07000 Langkawi, Kedah, Malaysia
More information from The Smith House website:

If you are keen to see how batik drawing and colouring is done, this is the place for you. If you are keen to try to draw and colour yourself a batik piece, then you will enjoy their workshop too. We went there first on our first arrival day as this was within walking distance from we were staying, “The Smith House”. They seem not to entertain individuals or small groups. I think they are more suited for tourists groups who wants to take their workshops, etc. All items are expensive as they mention it is unique and hand made. If you want an unique batik piece, then this place is fine. You will not find similar batik piece elsewhere as it is hand made in one to two quantities only.

It was raining as we were walking to this place. I could not snap much pictures…

Place Name: Field of Burnt Rice
Address: Kampung Raja, Mukim Padang Mat Sirat
Information found from web:
There is not much to see in this place, except a small ground where the rice was burnt. You have to pass by a row of souvenir shops to reach this place.

Place Name: Mahsuri
One can say your visit to Langkawi is never complete without knowing Mahsuri and her legend.
I ever visited this place 10 years ago and it certainly was well-maintained then. Now, I find it is totally in an unacceptable condition, with little lights and not even coordinated (not sure where is the entrance and exits too!). Toilets need maintenance too – it is not well kept!

Legend of Mahsuri and Langkawi:

More information on her generation:

Place Name: Taman Tugu Keris (Mahsuri Executed Premise)
This was the place where Mahsuri and other prisoners were executed those days – it was more like execution ground. She was executed at this spot and her tomb in another place.

Place Name: Mangrove / Bat Caves / Crocodile Cave / Eagle Watching
Information found from web:

One of the main highlight of Langkawi. One should never leave Langkawi without experiencing a boat ride to the mangroves. It was a great experience for us to invite Zamri, our tour guide along for this ride. He was explaining to us the various features of the island. Our boat driver was a former fisherman (67 years old who has retired from fishing, but now he is doing the boat rides).

Sure, we had lots of excitement when a monkey jumped onto our boat looking for food. The boat driver has some biscuits in a bag. The monkey snatched that and ran away!

Place Name: Gunung raya (mountain)
Information found from web:
Address: Jalan Air Hangat, Langkawi

Note: The D’Coconut Hill Resort is closed and so is the viewing tower. No reasons were given. When we were up there, we found a notice pasted on the front door, with no further access to the eight storey-tall viewing tower.

It is the highest mountain in Langkawi. The Gunung Raya peaks at 881 meters in height. It has wildlife such as leaf monkeys, flying foxes, macaque monkeys, squirrels, mountain hawk eagles, white bellied sea eagles, and great horn bills. We did not get to see any horn bills, except to hear their noises while there. Of course, along the roads, we saw monkeys!

Place Name: Langkawi Craft Complex
Address: Kompleks Kraf Langkawi, Jalan Teluk Yu, Mukim Bohor, 07000 Langkawi, Kedah, Malaysia

Not many tourists or people in this place. We saw the traditional crafts, fishing stuffs, batiks and more…There was a glass blowing place too. But it was too far to walk – we did not get to visit that place. Things sold here are more pricey than the regular marketplace souvenir place. But it was a clean and well maintained place.

Place Name: Four Seasons Hotel Lunch @ Kelapa Grill
Address: Jalan Tanjung Rhu, 07000 Langkawi, Kedah Darul Aman, Malaysia

Food was fantastic or should I say we were hungry and everything tasted great! 🙂 Customer service was excellent and the views were calming.

Place Name: Langkawi Wildlife Park
Address: Lot 1485, Jalan Ayer Hangat, Kampung Belanga Pecah, 07000 Langkawi, Kedah, Malaysia

Honestly, I do not like this place. I found the animals were either overfed or disturbed. But it did excite young children. The ticketing counter staff was encouraging us to purchase some food to feed the animals, but I refused. True enough, when I entered the premise, I felt that some animals were overfed. My son was excited as he had some close encounters with some animals. For me, it will be a place I will not visit again.

Place Name: Underwater World
More information from The Smith House website:
No pictures were taken as I felt it was almost similar to what Singapore has.

Place Name: Air Hangat Village
Address: 16, Jalan Air Hangat, Ayer Hangat, 07000 Langkawi, Kedah, Malaysia
Information found from web:

We went to this place very early in the morning. We were the first there and we had a good soak of our feet in one of the hot springs. It was a great experience soaking the feet in the hot springs. Other than that, that place seems not to have that much activity or life in it. They have a Jacuzzi there too…

Place Name: Black Sand Beach (Pantai Pasir Hitam)
Address: 07000 Langkawi, Kedah, Malaysia
Information found from web:

According to our tour guide Zamri, the sand found in this beach is black due to the minerals Tourmaline and Ilmenite in the granite of Gunung Raya. These minerals flow down by the spring water from the mountain and cause the color of sand to turn black. He mentioned to us that the locals considers this sand to have healing properties.

Place Name: Waterfalls
More information from The Smith House website:

We went to the small waterfall as we did not wish to climb any further than that to view the other waterfalls as we had to travel to some other places.

Place Name: Legenda Eagle Park

Place Name: Sunset Cruise
As for the Sunset Cruise, we went through QQ Holidays to get it booked for us. They arranged for us two way transport. This cruise is coordinated by Crystal Yacht Holidays. The sunset cruise experience in a small yacht was great. And if you are the type who will enjoy saltwater Jacuzzi, then this one is for you. Food served was good too. There was free flow of drinks throughout the cruise. A memorable experience.

If you wish to book directly with Crystal Yacht Holidays,
*I did not book directly with them…

19 December 2018, Wednesday: Back to Singapore from Langkawi

Accommodation / Airlines / Tour Company we used for this holiday

Accommodation Name: The Smith House
Address: Lot. 297, (HSM. 772), Bandar Padang Matsirat, Bandar Padang Matsirat, 07100 Kampung Padang Masirat, Malaysia
Duration of stay: 15 Dec – 19 Dec 2018
Room type: Twin room with extra bed

Room was spacious without the extra bed. Once the extra bed has been put, there was little walking space (you can view that from picture 3). To give us more space to move, we told them to remove the extra bed frame and retained the extra mattress. Only when we needed to sleep, we put the mattress on the floor. We were fine with that.

Plus Points:
(a) Very near the Langkawi International Airport
(b) Hygiene level is great
(c) Highest level is second level
(d) Breakfast spread is good, but repetitive. If you are not the fussy type, this will suit you well.
(e) Staff from the front desk, chauffeurs to cleaners are polite and cheerful. Most importantly, they are friendly and helpful.

Minus Points:
(a) This small “hotel” has two blocks. But it has only one lift. That means to say both passengers and service lifts are the same. But priority is given to guests. If there are guests waiting to go up and down, the service staff lets the guests to use the lift.
(b) And if you are staying at block B which is not located at the main block, you have a long walk to do passing various guest rooms. Again, it is a matter of preference. If you prefer the room very near the lift lobby, indicate it to them. For me, this was a small issue.

Tour Company Name: QQ Holidays Travel & Tour Sdn. Bhd. (Comp. No.861517-M) (KPL/LN 6037)
Address: No.77, 1st Floor, Persiaran Mutiara 2, 07000 Kuah, Langkawi, Kedah, Malaysia

I was in communication with a person named Shan Ooi. She was very helpful, prompt and professional in her dealings with me. She gave us an experienced and knowledgeable tour guide Zamri. In fact, they will book accommodation too. As I had already done my accommodation booking with The Smith House directly, I only made bookings via them for 2 days private tours and also for Sunset Cruise.

Feedback on our tour guide: Zamri was helpful and patient to our many queries. He was very experienced in his knowledge of the trees and of the medicinal and healing properties. In fact, we learnt lot from him on the tree species and on the wildlife of Langkawi. He was also understanding to our dietary needs and ensured we were taken care of during our time with him. He also ensured that we did not have to queue to purchase tickets at certain attractions. He gave valuable advice such as which sightseeing places to go to taking into consideration of the weather and also of the crowd. Most importantly, he speaks good English.

Additional information from Zamri: He is a freelance tour guide serving many tour companies in Langkawi. He mentioned among the many tour companies in Langkawi, QQ Holidays Travel is great as they take efforts to provide good service to their customers. He too added the vehicles they use is well-maintained and every tour guide needs to get the vehicle cleaned up first before returning the vehicle to the company at the end of the day (after using to ferry customers).

I would recommend anyone to QQ Holidays as they cater to the customer needs and are professional in their dealings too. The different vehicles provided for our two day tours were clean.

The first day: we got the mini van as Zamri did not know it was only 3 of us. The second day: he got for us a MPV. Both were spacious and clean.

Flights – Airlines: AirAsia

After checking various reviews over many websites, Air Asia seemed to be the best for trip to Langkawi. No issues. Flights departed on time. I feel the air crew team returning back to Singapore from Langkawi was much better than the team when we were going to Langkawi. We purchased Premium Economy and we were given priority check in. Flights were full – both going and return trip. The meals distribution needs better coordination. Even though we selected coffee at the time of web booking our flights, we were just offered standard plain water. We had to ask for coffee and then only they offered to us. We booked our flights via their direct website.